Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself up for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.- (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Incredibly Known

He counts the number of stars; He gives names to all of them. – (Psalm 147:4, HCSB)

He counts the stars and knows them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He counts all the stars within His hands, carefully fixing their number and giving them names. – (Psalm 147:4, VOICE)

In my own limited understanding, I know I am guilty of making God too small, or limiting what I think He can do. Verses like the one above are a reminder of just how big God really is. God, the Creator of all, created, placed, counted and named each of the stars in the sky. I don’t know about you, but any time that I get away from the city/suburb lights and look at the sky at night, I stand in awe, as the longer I look, the more stars I see; far too many to count. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. The same God that knows each star by name, knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. Intentionally, He formed each of us and knows us better than anyone. Designed with a plan and a purpose, I cannot help but stand in awe. The more I know Him, the more I want to know. One who knows and loves so deeply and personally is worth pursuing more. May we ever seek to know the Lord more and more, and may we discover how He sees us and calls us to be who He has created us to become.

Each star with a name,

Both numbered and known;

The Lord placed each one,

Love’s light being shown.

He who hung the stars,

Also made us all;

With plan and purpose,

Each one of us called.

May we choose seek Him,

With wonder and awe;

Praise Him for His love,

And grace for us all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created, placed, named and know each star in the sky – both those we can see, and those we cannot. Thank You that You know each person on the planet in the same way. Forgive us for making You too small. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are so much more than we can think or imagine. Lead us to love those around us with a love like Yours so that all might feel and know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue knowing You more, and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

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

Quiet Waiting

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

This week has been another long week, and I know many of us are weary and ready for rest. Thankfully, tomorrow is an extra day off, as it is a scheduled snow make-up day that we did not need, so the long weekend is four days instead of three. Though we can be intentional about finding quiet spaces to rest in God each day, there is something extra that helps our hearts when we have a few unscheduled days in a row. For me, a change of scenery, especially near water, is the sort of space that I am best able to rest and wait on the Lord. When we find space to be still before Him, we discover that hope rises, despite what has been going on around us. It is my prayer that all who are weary would find rest during the long weekend, and that hope would rise in the spaces of our hearts where it is lacking.

In sweet surrender,

I quietly wait;

The Lord’s ever near,

On time, never late.

He meets us with peace,

Shows us hope again;

Despite brokenness,

Heartache’s not the end.

For where we seek Him,

Ever we shall find;

Faithful love waiting,

For God’s always kind.

Loving forever,

In Him, hope’s restored;

Beauty from ashes,

Grace we can’t ignore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You provide room to rest and be refreshed when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for losing sight of hope when horrible things happen. Show us what we can do in every situation and circumstance to bring change for the better. Lead us in Your love to extend hope, help and Your heart to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and wait on You, for You are our peace, rest and hope forever. Amen.

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Learn and Grow

Just as you don’t know the path of the wind, or how the bones develop in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you don’t know the work of God who makes everything. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, HCSB)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

You can no more predict the path of the wind than you can explain how a child’s bones are formed in a mother’s womb. Even more, you will never understand the workings of the God who made all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, VOICE)

Though we cannot possibly understand how everything works or why all things transpire, we can come into a relationship with the One who does. The very same God who made all things is willing and wanting to be in relationship with us. I am in awe of all of the beauty that His hands have made, and the depth of His love that He has for all of His created. Each day is a new opportunity to learn and grow, and He is faithful to show us more and more of who He is and how He loves. As we learn, He empowers us to love likewise. May we embrace the grace that God freely gives, and seek to know Him more each day, trusting Him even when we do not understand why things happen.

Though we cannot know,

All things of the Lord;

We can know His love,

And grace He affords.

He made all of us,

With purpose and plan;

Will to discover,

The work of His hands.

Each day that we seek,

We learn and grow more;

How deeply God loves,

And good that’s in store.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly fathom all that Your hands have made and how all things work, we can know You and trust in Your goodness and love for all the days of our lives. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in spaces where we cannot understand the “why”. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, for You can work all things together for good, somehow. Show us how to love those around us well, and lead us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those who might not otherwise see Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for who You are and all that Your loving hands have made. Amen.

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

Compel me to grasp the way of Your statutes so I will fix my mind on Your wonderful works. – Psalm 119:27

Wisdom Leads to a Lovely Life

Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. – (Proverbs 3:17, HCSB)

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. – (Proverbs 3:17, NLT)

Wisdom from God is what leads us to joy and peace. His wisdom shows us the ways we are meant to go, and guides us throughout all of our days. When we listen to His leading, we know joy and peace in Him, no matter what lies ahead. In this season of seemingly unending curves and treacherous hills, knowing His nearness and listening to His leading are the things that make our paths plain and our vision eternal. As we learn to look through the Lord’s lens of love, we discover pleasant paths and true peace are found as we faithfully follow our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we discover His ways that lead us to a life full of His joy and peace.

Wisdom is waiting,

As we seek the Lord;

His ways are pleasant,

As grace, He affords.

He brings us His joy,

And provides His peace;

His wisdom, guides us,

And supplies our needs.

So, keep seeking God,

And wisdom He gives;

He’ll show us the ways,

That we’re meant to live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your wisdom leads us to pleasant paths and fills our lives with joy. Thank You that the wisdom in knowing You is what grants us hope and peace. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, or for attempting to navigate in our own knowledge. Teach us to seek You in all things, for You are faithful to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Fill us with Your wisdom that makes plain the paths that we are meant to take. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that peace and joy are passed along to all those we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom to lead us and provide us with Your peace and joy forever. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – Psalm 90:12

Called to Keep Forgiving

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, HCSB)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!” – (Matthew 18:21-22, TPT)

Forgiveness is a funny thing, as it is not as much for the offender as it is for the offended. To forgive is to release the weight and hurt of the offense, but it does not necessarily mean reconciliation. There are times when we must do everything possible to reconcile, yet there are other times when we need to walk away and trust God to lead us out of unhealthy situations and into peace, love and grace. It is in the space of seeking and trusting God that we discover the freedom that is found when we forgive. Holding onto hurt and anger keeps us bound up, whereas forgiveness sets us free from the weight of the wound. Healing happens when we give it to God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us forgive, just as He forgives us.

We’re called to forgive,

Again and again;

Release all to God,

Find freedom within.

Holding onto hurts,

Is what weighs hearts down;

Poison from within,

Thief of freedom found.

Lord, help us forgive,

Every offense;

Strength to move forward,

In each circumstance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to walk in forgiveness rather than holding onto hurts. Thank You that You equip and empower us to forgive like You when we seek You to show us how. Forgive us for every hurt that we have held too long, and show us how to release all in Your hands. Lead us in Your loving freedom so that we may extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love best, and may Your goodness and love lead others to entrust You with the offenses that hold their hearts captive. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your leading to live a life of forgiveness and grace. Amen. 

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

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. – Psalm 86:5

Peace to Pass On

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:7, HCSB)

And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:7, ERV)

Then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. – (Philippians 4:7, TPT)

This verse is a reminder to us all that God is the place where peace is found. When we seek and rely on Him, we discover that Christ will guard our hearts and minds from the chaos that surrounds us so that we still know and experience peace within. As we navigate and operate in His peace, we encourage those around us to experience the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His peace, for it protects and provides what we need, no matter what surrounds us.

The peace of the Lord,

Is like no one else;

To know Christ alone,

Is to find oneself.

Past understanding,

Love that grants us peace;

That fills up our hearts,

And will never cease.

For God is the rock,

To whom we can cling;

Everything good,

Is what His grace brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace guards our hearts and minds and keeps us pressing on. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing so that we may share Your goodness and grace that grant peace. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You when the storms seem too strong. Teach us to trust You more, for You can bring peace in chaos with mere words. Show us how to be still and know that You are God. Lead us to love those around us well, and may Your peace be present and shared with all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, for You are our peace in and through all. Amen. 

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

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

Approach Boldly

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. – (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. Therefore we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So now we draw near freely and boldly to where grace is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

Because Jesus has been through and understands everything we go through, and has paid the price for all that we have ever done and will ever do, we can come before Him boldly in prayer. As we do, we discover that He meets us with mercy and grace, and is ready to help whenever we need it. The more we understand and experience this for ourselves, the more readily we come before Him with every prayer and praise. May we ever draw near to our Savior, and present before Him our requests and appreciation.

O Lord, remind us,

Of Your faithfulness;

In times of great joy,

And those in distress.

Ever You’re faithful,

With kindness and love;

You hear ev’ry word,

Lifted up above.

Lord help us to pray,

Lift ev’ry request;

And love each other,

The way that is best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can boldly approach Your throne where we receive mercy, kindness and grace. Forgive us for trying to handle things on our own or not trusting You to be all that we need. Teach us to come to You with every prayer, petition and praise that we have to offer. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before Your throne with boldness. Amen.

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

All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. – Psalm 65:2

To Magnify

Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, HCSB)

Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. You made all things. Everything existed and was made because You wanted it. – (Revelation 4:11, ERV)

Worthy are You, O Lord; worthy are You, O God, to receive glory and honor and power. You alone created all things, and through Your will and by Your design, they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, VOICE)

God intentionally created all things. For this and so much more, He is the One who deserves all of our honor and praise. Today, on day ten of our twenty-one days of intentional prayer, the title of the guide is Magnify God. To magnify anything, we must look closely and intentionally to see all that is. The closer and more carefully we look, the more in-focus intricate details become. With God, as we magnify Him, we discover more of His heart for us and how deeply and completely He loves. “He is our Author, our Maker, our Ransom, our Savior, our Refuge, our Hiding Place; our Hope in the shadows, our Strength in the battle, our Anchor for all our days.” (Worthy of Your Name by Passion Conferences) When I began thinking about the characteristics of God, immediately my mind was flooded with the above listed song lyrics. They beautifully capture an accurate magnification of who God is and what He does for us. May we ever be intentional to magnify God and give Him all glory and honor and praise for who He is.

Our loving Author,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Who graciously gives;

Maker, Creator,

Of all that there is.

He is our Ransom,

In love, took our place;

The Savior of all,

Who choose seek His face.

In Him, there is hope,

Even when all’s dark;

He’s strength in weakness,

Through love, He imparts.

Our Anchor to hold,

No matter the storm;

Where we shall find peace,

Our Comfort and warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can magnify You as we seek You and walk in the light of Your love. Thank You that any time that we are intentional to seek and look closely at who You are and how You love, we discover countless reasons to praise You. Forgive us for not being intentional to pause and recognize who You are and how You love often enough. Teach us to glorify You in everything that we do. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly represent Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally investigate who You are and how You love so that we can properly magnify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. – Psalm 145:1