Sacrificial Love

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, HCSB)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – (John 15:13, NIV)

For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, TPT)

Today is a well-timed day of rest and a day to honor all who have served our country. I am fortunate to have known and understood the sacrifice that our veterans have made, as my grandfather was a retired lieutenant colonel for the army. Though he spoke little of his experiences, I imagine he saw, experienced, loved and lost more than my mind can conceive. All that he did was willingly and with the intent to protect his family, friends and his country. His dedication to protect was matched by his commitment to love. Though his time on earth has passed, his love and legacy live on through the generations that followed. Today, I have the joy of knowing that my husband, who also served, has a heart like his; one that loves and protects and would lay down his life without a second thought, for his friends and family. It is a special kind of love, in fact, the greatest love of all, that is willing to sacrifice all for others. May we take time to give thanks to God for the heart to love and protect that He has given to those who serve, and pass on our appreciation to all the veterans in our lives for the blessing of their service and sacrifice. 

There’s no greater love,

My husband.

Willing sacrifice;

Ready to give all,

The ultimate price.

For all who have served,

And still serve today;

Thank you’s not enough,

For your loving ways.

May all who have served,

Feel valued and loved;

For your sacrifice,

Shows the greatest love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for demonstrating the ultimate love through sending Your Son. Thank You for the men and women who have willingly sacrificed much to serve and protect our country. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of their sacrifice that demonstrates the greatest love of all. Teach us to appreciate and value our veterans, as we recognize how the sacrifices made demonstrate a love like Yours. Show us how to love like You, and to do all we can to bless and appreciate those who have and continue to protect us all. Amen.

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

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, edures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Readily and Cheerfully

Do everything without grumbling and arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, HCSB)

Do everything without complaining or arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, ERV)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! – (Philippians 2:14, MSG)

It is always good to be reminded of the attitude that we ought to have throughout our day. Today is timely, as this happens to be a day bookended with extra meetings. Rather than be grumbly about having to meet, I can cheerfully give thanks that I am gainfully employed and that we meet to be and do better in all that we do. May we ever seek the Lord to help us do all things readily and cheerfully, without complaining or arguing. He is good, and His love knows no end.

O Lord, show us how,

To do all with love;

Without complaining,

Seek Your grace above.

Help us be cheerful,

With hearts set to serve;

To extend goodness,

Despite what’s deserved.

Make our heart like Yours,

Full of love and grace;

Teach us to run well,

Each leg of our race.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things readily and cheerfully, for that is one way that we can demonstrate the depth of Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations that have led to complaining or arguing. Teach us to take all things in stride as You do. Show us how to cheerfully approach all things with grateful hearts. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to know the power of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us do all things without grumbling or complaining, but rather approach all things with a cheerful and grateful heart. Amen.

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

And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Lead Us In Your Love

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

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesian 4:2, TPT)

This verse is a reminder for us all. After so many months of being away from what we have always known as “normal”, patience, gentleness, humility and love are things that only occur when we make an intentional choice to extend them. It can be especially trying when part of the family has upheld some normalcy, as their jobs require their in-person attendance, whereas the twins and I have remained working and going to school from home. As one who has a wanderlust heart and a passion for adventure, this season of always being at home has been exhausting. It takes everything in me to be patient, gentle and loving, as my frustration often gets the better of me. Without God’s grace and loving kindness, none of these traits would ever be evident. I need His grace to fill me anew each day, and even so, there are days that I am depleted and do not demonstrate the love, gentleness and patience that I ought to. Again this morning, I must humbly seek the Lord, and ask for a fresh filling of goodness and grace so that I might see and interact with others as He intended.

Lord, come and fill us,

Renew us again;

Teach us to love well,

Lord, yes and amen.

Show us Your goodness,

Equip us with grace;

Patience and kindness,

Throughout all our days.

Lead us in Your love,

May we humbly give;

Love just as You do,

With grace and forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow us in patience, humility and love as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You demonstrate Your patience, grace and love for us each new day. Forgive us for being harsh or unkind toward those around us. Teach us to turn to You to lead and equip us to love like You. Show us how to be humble, patient, loving and accepting of all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform our heart into one that loves like Yours. 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

Love Conquers All

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV) 

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV) 

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT) 

Right now, this seems to be all that I know to do; pray and love. Between my job that now has me staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hours a day, and a dog, who like me, has to get out and move every single day, I have had to order my days so that they begin with screenless movement. I love deeply, and am struggling watching dear friends on both sides of the political divide blast the other with blanket statements about people who stand in opposition to their own convictions. With everything that is in me, I cannot engage. There is nothing in my entire being that desires to participate in the sort of name-calling that was problematic on an elementary school playground. With love, there would be listening and seeking to understand. I must choose what is important and focus on that which matters most. The only thing that I know to do right now is to pray, and to seek to love well. My hope and prayer is that at the end of the day, love will lead us home. Christ loved the sinners and the saints, the righteous and the unrighteous. He chose love and mercy, kindness and compassion. Yes, there were times that He cleared the temple courts and called out the crooked ways in the self-righteous, yet even so, He loved. From the tax collectors who extorted funds from His people, to the very hands that hung Him on the cross, Christ’s love forgave and offered help and hope and new life to all who were willing to receive. If Christ is our example, how can we choose differently? We must be intentional to choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the most excellent way; for love conquers all.  

Lord, help us to love, 

In each circumstance; 

Forgive and be kind, 

So love may advance. 

Let not our theories, 

Opinions, beliefs; 

Keep us from loving, 

Offering relief. 

For what matters most, 

Is how we choose love; 

Mirror God’s own heart, 

Seeking Christ above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and loving and full of grace. Thank You that You are merciful, and that You call us to live like You. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not demonstrate Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how 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

A Love Like No Other

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. – (Psalm 34:3, NIV)

Praise the Lord with me. Let us honor His name. – (Psalm 34:3, ERV)

Come and lift up the Eternal with me; let’s praise His name together! – (Psalm 34:3, VOICE)

 

A little over a year ago, we could have lost our mom. She suffered a massive stroke, and the circumstances surrounding her survival, are nothing short of miraculous. Mother’s Day last year was barely two weeks after her stroke, and though still a bit shell-shocked, we were overflowing with gratitude that we still had our mom. This year, there is even more to be thankful for on this Mother’s Day. Mom continues to gain strength and mobility, and is doing phenomenally well; she has come incredibly far over the last year. Additionally, I know that both my sister and I are so grateful to have not only our mom thriving, but our mother’s-in-love, and bonus (step) mom, doing well, also. We are full of gratitude to have healthy children, who are thriving, despite the frustration of our current circumstances. Even with three seniors between us, a freshman, and a nineteen-year-old, gratitude is in the forefront of our hearts and minds, as we know we have so many reasons to glorify God and give Him praise. Though I know not everyone shares the same story of blessing associated with Mother’s Day, I imagine we all know women who have had a powerfully positive influence in our lives. Whatever our experience, may we begin this day with praise for what He has done, is doing, and that which is yet to come.

 

With heart full of praise, wp-1589120653217823994609110985136.jpg

Love like no other;

I glorify God,

For my own mother.

I am beyond blessed,

Through her precious life;

As she models love,

And quickly ends strife.

Further the thanks goes,

For those brought along;

Women who love well,

Show how to love strong.

All praise to the Lord,

On this Mother’s Day;

For loving women,

Blessings on our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You this morning and every day for the overwhelming ways that You meet me and bless me with Your presence and Your provision. Thank You for the incredible gift of mothers. Thank You for the women that You place in our lives to show us how to love and seek You for strength as we navigate our journey with You. Forgive us for taking our mother’s for granted, even for a moment, for they are a blessing and a gift from You. Teach us to seek You and praise You all the more for who You are, daily. Show us how to love well, so that we might be people who demonstrate the sort of love that You intended each of us to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. – Proverbs 31:31, GNT

Filter the Flow

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” – (Mark 7:15, NIV)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15, TLB)

“There is nothing outside someone that can corrupt him. Only the things that come out of a person can corrupt him.” – (Mark 7:15, VOICE)

 

The things that surround us do not defile us by their mere existence. It is what we do with what we take in that determines the outcome. Our thoughts, words and deeds are what demonstrate the condition of our heart, not what we eat or where we happen to be planted. We all have a choice as to what we do with what we take in – we either embrace whatever it is and it seasons that which we say and do, or we recognize the need for a Godly filter, and cast aside that which is of no benefit to us or others. May we seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, allowing room for His heavenly filter to decipher what is beneficial and what needs to be let go, so that what comes out of us is wrapped in the love of God.

 

Our heart is the space, Enter With Thanksgiving

Where we all decide;

Which words and actions,

In life, be applied.

It is these choices,

Not things that surround;

That lift or corrupt,

As the truth is found.

May we all choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

May our words and deeds,

Provide love’s embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what is outside of us and even what we take in is not what corrupts us. Thank You that it is a matter of the heart and what we do with our thoughts and actions that determine whether we are walking in line with You or far from You. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered on our own with our words, thoughts or actions. Please repair the damage done by our lack of listening. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take pause and listen to Your leading in every word, thought and deed. 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 to lead and guide us in our thoughts, words and actions. May we ever honor You in all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Live Out Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

Talk is cheap. The older I get, the more I know this to be true. Love is made evident through consistent actions over time, as the things we do demonstrate the truth of who we are. It is only after we see and know the truth of a person’s love through their actions, that we can begin to believe words that say the same. Everything we do – every deed and action, testifies the truth of who we are. What do we tell the world through the things we do? If our goal is love, then all that we do must be aligned with that in mind. No one is perfect and all fall short, yet if we invest in the One who is love, and pattern our lives according to His will, we cannot help but operate in the truth of His love as we navigate our days. May we ever seek the Lord and the depth of His love, so that we may go forth and love not merely with words, but with actions and in truth.

 

Lord, help us to love,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

As You call us to;

Not only with words,

But actions in truth.

For the deeds we do,

Speak louder than words;

Love is truly seen,

Not just idly heard.

Show us the way, Lord,

To love others best;

Let all that we do,

Help others feel blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us in Your word how to love people best. Thank You that You showed us first what it is to love in action and in truth, as You sent Your Son to love and restore relationships as He loved not just with words, but with everything He did. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and do the same as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted in love, or have spoken hollow words that were not backed up with acts of love. Teach us to love consistently and completely. Show us how to put love in action everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to live out love in the same way that You continuously love all of 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

Gifts in All

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV)

Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person. The Spirit gives this to each one to help others. – (1 Corinthian 12:7, ERV)

Each believer has received a gift that manifests the Spirit’s power and presence. That gift is given for the good of the whole community. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, VOICE)

 

Currently, my pastor is in the middle of a series called, Naturally Supernatural. In this, he is unpacking the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of the most important points that he has made have had to do with the purpose of these gifts. First, the kingdom of God is accessed through the Spirit of God. Without Him, we cannot grow in our understanding. The gifts of the Spirit are given by grace to serve the body of Christ. They are intended to build others up, and must be used to demonstrate a heart of love. When wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, discernment, miracles, prophecy, languages of men and angels, and the interpretation of such, are utilized as God intended, the movement of God’s power in love, clears the way and brings breakthrough so that His words may be heard and received by hearts moved by the power of God’s amazing love made tangible. Another important point that was made, is that these gifts are distributed by God in His grace, not somehow earned nor manifested in some sort of hierarchy. Each gift is for the purpose of encouraging and building up the body, and not for the elevation of the recipient. Whatever we receive is intended to be utilized to serve and honor God, thus is nothing from us nor in our own wisdom or strength. May we be open to the Lord and the gifts He has for us, and ready to love others well, as we share what we have been given.

 

God births in us all, Gifts in All

Gifts of His power;

To build others up,

In love, empower.

To nourish the growth,

Of faith, hope and love;

As God moves through us,

Power from above.

Wisdom and knowledge,

Faith, healing and more;

Miracles of God,

Grow faith all the more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts that You give to us to access, understand, serve and love more. Thank You that none are earned, but rather You freely give. Forgive us for neglecting to utilize what You give. Teach us to trust You more so that we would step out in faith and serve You by loving others well with all that You have placed in us. Show us how to love those around us, specifically and individually, so that they may understand Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love others with all that You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – Romans 12:6a

Do Away With Distractions to Seek

“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, NIV)

“I want you to know, I will not drink this wine again until that day when I drink it in God’s kingdom and the wine is new.” – (Matthew 14:25, ERV)

“I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, MSG)

 

Jesus spoke these words to the disciples as they were seated and partaking in the last supper, prior to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane and then ultimately, His crucifixion. He knew that it was an evening of lasts, and let the others know, accordingly. When Jesus told them that He would be betrayed by one among them, they seemed to grasp that message in disbelief, yet did not demonstrate a reaction (in writing) to the words Jesus spoke about the timing of His death. It would only be after His death, resurrection and ascension that the significance of Jesus’ statements would really register in the minds and hearts of the disciples. From what I can observe, Jesus did not have anything to eat or drink between the last supper and the crucifixion. Based on the burden that He was choosing to bear, I imagine it was intentional, as Jesus went to the garden to seek time with God, to pray for what was yet to come. We know, according to scripture, that part of what He prayed was for the cup He was meant to carry to be taken from Him if it was possible; yet if not, let it be so. I imagine too, that there were petitions made for strength and help, as Jesus had to endure the weight of the world upon His shoulders. God is faithful, always, and it is difficult to envision the how, when we know what Jesus endured. However, after three days down, He rose again and then ultimately ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. I imagine that the rise and reward for all eternity made the suffering seem but a brief nightmare, in comparison. That being said, it was a burden that not one of us could have carried. In order to carry the weight, we would have had to be without sin. Only Jesus… All that to say, that when the pressure was overwhelming, Jesus set aside physical needs to go and spend time with the Father. Though it was late and had likely been a long day, He cared not about sleep either, as He was intentional to go and pray. Jesus is our ultimate example of what to do. If we have a need, a decision, a challenge, a burden or the like, we ought to set aside our physical desires for a time, so that we may go and pursue the Lord; for our spiritual needs supersede the physical into eternity. May we seek the Lord in all things, for He is our strength and our supply.

 

Set aside the things, The Mirror of the Heart

That get in the way;

For a time to seek,

Intent to choose pray.

The Lord is faithful,

He hears all we ask;

He’ll show us the way,

To wait or take task.

Do not grow weary,

As we ask and wait;

For God’s not early,

And He’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to seek You with our whole hearts. Thank You that You are faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that Your answers come in Your time and not ours. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see immediate answers, when sometimes the wait is part of the healing process. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be persistent in prayer, and set aside the things that distract us from fixing our eyes on You. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside distractions and seek You with our whole heart. 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