Trust Over Fear

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NIV)

Jesus overhead and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be alright.” – (Luke 8:50, MSG)

When Jesus heard this, He turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t yield to fear. Have faith in Me and she will live again.” – (Luke 8:50, TPT)

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had bowed at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house to heal his young daughter. As Jairus and Jesus were on the way, someone from Jairus’ house came up to them and told them that Jairus’ daughter had died. Verse fifty is how Jesus responded to the news about Jairus’ daughter. On the way to the house, Jesus had healed a woman. I imagine that Jairus already knew that Jesus could heal, and the timing of the woman’s healing, prior to the news of the death of his daughter, must have added to the hope that Jairus placed in Him. After Jesus, Jairus and the disciples who were with them arrived, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. She did live again and everything was alright, just as Jesus had spoken. I don’t know about you, but this brings much encouragement. When we seek the Lord for answers and for help, it is never too late for Him to intervene. He can bring life out of death and restore what seems irrevocably broken. We serve a God who restores and heals and grants us hope, even when things seem bleak. May we ever continue to fall at the feet of Jesus, trusting that He is who He says He is, and can do all things that will bring life and wholeness and restoration.

No matter the way,

That things may appear;

When we seek the Lord,

He’ll always draw near.

To know His presence,

Fathom we’re His own;

Held and granted hope,

Perceive how we’re known.

Christ hears ev’ry prayer,

In love, makes a way;

Hope soon realized,

He does not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power who heard the prayers of a synagogue leader and healed both his daughter and a woman on the way, is available to us every day. Thank You that You hear our prayers and grant us help and hope as You hold us up in Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations when answers seem delayed or too late, for Your timing is not ours, and Your ways are best. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend help and hope and life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and give thanks for how You love us all. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

To Still Our Storms

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, NIV)

They were very afraid and asked each other, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and water obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, ERV)

But they were overwhelmed with fear and awe and said to one another, “Who is this man who has such authority that even the wind and waves obey Him?” – (Mark 4:41, TPT)

This verse follows the account of Jesus and the disciples immediately after they had been caught in the midst of a giant squall, feared for their lives, and Jesus had stood and spoke to the wind and sea to “be still”. The wind and water stopped immediately as He spoke, and the disciples were awestruck and afraid. Most of the disciples were experienced fishermen and were overwhelmingly aware of the sudden danger of a storm that started with little warning. Additionally, the very notion of such a squall being silenced by the mere words of a man did not make sense. The wind and waves did not simply stop, but there, in that experience with Jesus, they did. Though the disciples had been with Jesus and seen Him perform miracles for many people, speaking to a storm and the sea was beyond what they likely could have ever imagined. Perhaps the silencing of the storm experience was an “aha” moment in which they began to grasp just how powerful Jesus truly was. For us, today, we have the benefit of beholding a collection of the experiences of those who walked with Jesus, and the opportunity to experience a life with Him, by His Spirit within us. We may not see squalls at sea silenced, but many are the storms that He has calmed within. Christ is our peace in the places of chaos, and our hope when we feel helpless. His power to be present and bring peace is beyond what we can fathom until we begin to experience it for ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord, both in the midst of storms and in the calm, for He is faithful to be present to help us and hold us, no matter what life brings our way.

When storms are raging,

Outside or within;

We need our Savior,

To bring peace again.

And when all is calm,

May we too delight;

In He who’s present,

The Maker of right.

Let us stand in awe,

Of all He has done;

Give glory to God,

The most Holy One.

Please never forget,

The power that’s found;

Through merely His words,

As His grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son to show us the incredible power of Your love through Him. Please forgive us for the times that we allow the storms around us or within us to create fear and steal our peace. Teach us to trust in Your power and goodness, as You walk with us all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend peace and comfort and make Your power and heart for all known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn how to lean into You through the storms and in our spaces of calm. 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

Intentional In Love

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

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

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

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

Let’s love each other,

As the Lord loves us;

Freely outpouring,

As done by Jesus.

When we choose to love,

With grace, each other;

God’s love’s clearly shown,

One to another.

May we celebrate,

All that we’re given;

Generously give,

Each day we live in.

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

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

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

Ask in Faith

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, ERV)

Everything you pray for with the fullness of faith you will receive! – (Matthew 21:22, TPT)

These words were spoken by Jesus to the disciples after He had commanded a fig tree to never bear fruit again, and they watched the tree wither before them. His words were not to create a culture of wishes being granted, but more to prove the power of prayer, when spoken in faith. The challenge in this is that there are always prayers that seem to go unanswered. In our limited understanding, that is how things appear. If we could see things through the lens of Christ, we would recognize that our prayers are answered His way, not ours. He hears every prayer that we pray, and is ever moving on our behalf. However, God is just and kind, and our prayers must align with His heart and His plans. I have prayed in faith, believing that God would bring healing on many occasions. Sometimes, healing is immediate, other times it is gradual, and still other times, the healing happens in heaven. What I do know, is that God is faithful to meet us in our need and provide His presence that moves mountains – both in our hearts and in our circumstances. May we ever turn to Him and lift our prayers, believing in faith that He will move either the mountains before us, or lead us over or around all that seems to stand in our way.

Call on the Lord,

In faith, seek His Name;

Pray believing,

The truth we proclaim.

We know He’s good,

He hears each request;

His love holds us,

His grace does what’s best.

Let us choose ask,

Make our requests known;

God is faithful,

And His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear every prayer spoken in faith. Thank You that answers don’t always look the way that we anticipate, but You are always good and have eternity in mind. Forgive us for our frustration and impatience when it seems that answers are not present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize You moving on our behalf, and trust that You have our ultimate good in mind. Show us how to love those around us, as we lift up prayers of faith, believing that You will answer all that we ask. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up our prayers to You in faith, trusting that You will move mightily on our behalf. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Made to Praise

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, NIV)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

Jesus responded, “Listen to me. If my followers were silenced, the very stones would break forth with praises!” – (Luke 19:40, TPT)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a whole crowd of disciples was shouting praises to announce His arrival, and yelling out the truth of Jesus’ rightful roles. Some of the Pharisees who were in the area, were not having it. They ordered Jesus to rebuke those who were praising Him. His response reminds us that all of creation was indeed made to praise Him and speak the truth of who He is. The power, grace, goodness, and love of the Lord demands our praise. We were created with an innate need to worship. Where we place our praise matters. If we praise the One who alone is worthy, the truth is declared and we discover the perfect peace that comes as we do what we were created to do. All of creation was made to reflect the Lord’s radiance. The rocks, the mountains, the oceans, rivers and seas – everywhere we look, we can see the evidence of the Lord’s loving and powerful hands. As we draw ever nearer to the day that we celebrate His birth, may we take time to lift our voice in praise for who God is and how our Savior loves.

All of creation,

Was made to give praise;

To honor Jesus,

Throughout our days.

The rocks will cry out,

If people do not;

For He is worthy,

Of our praise and thought.

Let us lift His Name,

For He’s always good;

He came to save us,

Make love understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be our Savior and salvation. Thank You that we were created to praise. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give praise where praise was due, for all belongs to You. Teach us to see Your goodness, power, and love throughout our days. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and love all of Your creation. Amen.

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

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

Magnificent Multiplication

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. – (Luke 9:16, NIV)

Then Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish. He looked up into the sky and thanked God for the food. Then He broke it into pieces, which He gave to the followers to give to the people. – (Luke 9:16, ERV)

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and gazing into the heavenly realm He gave thanks for the food. Then, in the presence of His disciples, He broke off pieces of bread and fish, and kept giving more to each disciple to give to the crowd. It was multiplying before their eyes! – (Luke 9:16, TPT)

As I read the ninth chapter of Luke, I paused and pondered what it must have been like for the disciples and the crowd when Jesus told His followers to feed thousands from five loaves of bread and two fish. My wonder went beyond the miracle and I simply tried to imagine what it would have been to be present. Did the food multiply as He prayed, or did they begin distributing the bread and fish and it simply kept regenerating as they passed portions? The Passions Translation grants my imagination free reign, as I sit in awe and wonder at He who took a little and made it into much, much more. I think that really is the point that we are meant to gain from this account of what transpired – that when we are willing to give God what we have, no matter how little, He can multiply it exponentially for the greater good. In this season of both shut down and of celebration, how can we bring God what we have to see Him multiply it for good? There are opportunities everywhere; from giving trees, to food banks, to local schools, to the elderly and the lonely… May we ever seek the Lord to direct our steps, and with willing hearts, offer what we have for Him to multiply and bless many.

Lord, I stand in awe,

At all that You do;

As You take little,

To bless through and through.

Show us how to give,

Trust all in Your hands;

Know that You will use,

Each gift as You’ve planned.

Every resource,

Time, talent and gifts;

Can be used by God,

To touch and uplift.

Let us choose offer,

What we’re called to give;

Watch Him multiply,

In love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can take whatever we bring and multiply it to bless many. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to trust and walk by faith, understanding the incredible power of Your love. Forgive us for withholding what we have known we were meant to give. Show us how to bring You our time, talent and resources so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Lead us to love those around us well. Instruct us as to how we can give. Please multiply all for the good of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring what we have to offer, trusting that You will use what we give in far greater ways than we could ever imagine. Amen.

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

He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

The Second Day at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. – (Matthew 27:62-66, NIV)

That day was the day called Preparation Day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive He said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that He has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about Him before.” Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it. – (Matthew 27:62-66, ERV)

 

The somber silence of Saturday, was really not so silent at all. Behind the scenes, those who had accused, tried and crucified Jesus, were now scrambling to make certain that what He had foretold, would not in any way, appear to be the truth. It is almost comical to imagine the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate as they have their troubled exchanges, as all the while, the disciples are grieving their loss. Stealing the body was likely the furthest thing from their mind. Mary and Martha were waiting to attend to His body, to further treat it properly for burial, but taking His body from the tomb… Eww… What I love most of all about this short passage of scripture, is that Jesus’ accusers took such care to be certain the tomb was guarded and secure from the outside, yet could not control the miracle that was taking place on the inside. Can you imagine the shock and awe that was to come for the soldiers sent to guard the tomb? Soldiers who were to be wary of those who would come near the tomb, would suddenly find themselves face to face with an angel of the Lord, and then the risen Christ himself, less than twenty-four hours later. Jesus was not a liar nor a deceiver. He is the truth, the way and the life. All who choose come to Him, may know love and life everlasting in Him. Though Saturday was somewhat silent, Sunday was on its way!

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us Your goodness, grace and power. Thank You that You demonstrated Your incredible love for us as You willingly went to the cross and died the death that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven and know life in You. Thank You that the grave was not the end. Thank You that hope rises, and that Sunday is coming for all. Forgive us for allowing our sorrows and grief to feel hopeless and helpless in the tomb of our heart. Thank You that You do Your miraculous work from within, so how things appear do not matter in order for You to move. Show us how to love in ways that offer hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is ready to rise, each day, because of the third day at the tomb. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

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

To Demonstrate Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – (John 13:34, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

wp-15816817937588641311806906910576.jpg

The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9