Follow the Example of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

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 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)

I so appreciate the Message translation of this passage. The reality that what God mostly does is love us, is incredible and undeserved. If we spend time with Him, He teaches and shows us what it is to live a life of love. Christ’s love is selfless, not selfish. He loved without expecting anything in return. We are called to do likewise. This kind of love is not natural for the human heart, however, the more we seek and spend time with the Lord, the more we learn to love like Him. In a world where so much adversity and animosity exist, we need to love all the more. Love is a decision, not a feeling. We must choose to love one another as we are loved by God. In order to do so, we must seek the Lord, know Him, and depend on Him to equip us to do exactly what we were created to do. May we ever lean into the Lord to show us what it is to love in every situation and circumstance.

As children of God,

May we seek to love;

All people, always,

Like the Lord above.

It is a free gift,

With no strings attached;

Yet it draws us in,

In thanks, we react.

Respond with kindness,

God’s grace, love and peace;

The more we choose love,

Enmity released.

The Lord’s love gave all,

We’re called to the same;

To extend His grace,

Instead of placed blame.

Lead us in love, Lord,

Show us love Your way;

Help us be better,

Each waking new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us – completely and extravagantly, despite what we deserved. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose love. Show us how to love like You in all things and at all times. Instruct us as You grow our hearts to more closely reflect Your own. Use us as Your ambassadors of peace as we seek to love You and people well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You and seek to be a reflection of Your radiant love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Sing, Praise and Encourage

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord Jehovah. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, TPT)

As we encourage one another and give praise to God, we are reminded of our reasons to praise Him. When I pause and take time to observe everything and everyone that God has brought into my life, I cannot help but praise and thank Him. There is something so powerful about worship and praise. We may come before HIm hoping to show Him our gratitude and appreciation, and discover that as we do, we are the ones who are encouraged and built up. God invites us to enter into His presence. As we do, we cannot help but be changed. While our hearts grow lighter and peace floods in, God fills us with His love to extend to those around us. May we ever lift joyful praise to the Lord and allow our hearts to overflow to all those around us.

Let hearts overflow,

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

With sweet songs of praise;

To honor the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Sing and make music,

For all that is good;

Encourage others,

Be kind as we should.

May our hearts reflect,

Our thanks to the Lord;

As our lives give praise,

To Him we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that you call us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You or encourage those around us. Teach us to recognize the enormous blessing we have in life with You, no matter what goes on around us. Show us how to love all those with whom we interact, so that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You praise in all things. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting it is to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

Live a Life of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love… – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, NIV) 

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, 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. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, MSG) 

Everything we do must be guided by love. We are dearly loved by God, therefore, we must follow His example and love others well. This is not a simple a pick and choose who to love, or when to love, but rather it is meant to be a life of love. All that we think, say and do must be steeped in love. What does that look like? Thankfully, He tells us exactly what it means to love.  

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” -(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 

May we seek the Lord to lead us and equip us so that we may be patient, kind, rejoicing in the truth, protective, trusting, hopeful, and always persevere. 

Because God is love, 

And we’re loved by Him; 

We likewise should love, 

Welcome people in. 

Into our circles, 

Where love’s always found; 

Grace freely offered, 

And goodness abounds. 

Treat one another, 

With value and grace; 

Choose love each other, 

And follow God’s ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us first, and continue to show us again and again, what it is to love. Forgive us for every word, thought, and deed that does not clearly reflect Your love. Teach us to lean into You so that we may reflect Your love to all those whom we encounter. Show us how to love each individual as You do, in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to follow Your example and live a life of love. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Patterns of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

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 for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as His beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for He surrendered His life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration – a sweet healing fragrance. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, TPT)

 

When we choose to follow Christ, it is our charge to live out a life of love as His dearly loved children. Because we are loved by Him, we too, have the capacity to love others in the same way. Christ’s love is sacrificial and not self-seeking; in every way, His love is pleasing to God. On our own, such love is an impossible order. However, when we seek the Lord and spend time with Him and in His word, we learn to pattern our lives after His. This does not mean that we somehow “arrive” and suddenly love perfectly, yet the longer we pursue His path, the more clearly we are able to reflect His love. May we ever seek to follow God’s example as His dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved each of us.

 

In all that we do, patterns-of-love.jpg

May we look to God;

And pattern our lives,

Make love our response.

God’s love is immense,

Sacrificial, kind;

Never self-seeking,

With our best in mind.

May we love the same,

Throughout all our days;

So God’s love is known,

As we give Him praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that You gave all so that we could have life and light and love. Thank You that Your love is not self-seeking, but rather You always have our very best in mind. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved in the same way, or have attempted to navigate on our own. Teach us how to pattern our lives after You, so that we may love in the same way that You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us selflessly and lavishly, so that they may experience and know the depth and breadth of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pattern our lives after You, so that we may love completely. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

img_20191031_054841_6232209488813426161746.jpg

I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

We Belong to the Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth). – (Ephesians 5:8-9, NIV)

In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. This light produces every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. – (Ephesians 5:8-9, ERV)

Because, although you were once the personification of darkness, you are now light in the Lord. So act like children of the light. For the fruit of the light is all that is good, right, and true. – (Ephesians 5:8-9, VOICE)

 

This passage from Ephesians 5, reminds us of the transformative power of the light of Christ in our lives. Though we once were full of darkness, when we at last allowed the light of Christ to enter in, the darkness could not remain. Light and darkness cannot coexist. As a light is ignited, darkness disappears. All that was previously hidden under the cloak of shadows in the absence of light, suddenly comes into view when light is allowed in. The light that comes and fills us and transforms us, so that we may bear fruit that is good, right and true. May we ever keep the door of our heart open, so that the light of Christ may flood every corner with His transformative power, producing every kind of goodness, right living and truth.

 

No more in darkness, img_2019-10-02_05-01-485044434115357390363.jpg

In Christ, we are light;

Flooded to bear fruit,

And do what is right.

The fruit is goodness,

The way that we love;

Right living in truth,

Through grace from above.

Leave behind darkness,

Walk full in His light;

Live a life fruitful,

Love well, do what’s right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You in, the darkness disappears, and Your light floods our existence. Thank You that in the light of Your love, we are called to bear the fruit that illuminates Your heart to the world. Thank You that You grow us in righteousness, goodness, and truth as we invest our lives in knowing more of You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to walk in the light that You have called us into. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live lives that bear Your fruit. Show us how to love those around us with goodness, truth and right living in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in the light of Your love and walk in Your goodness, righteousness and truth. Amen.

 

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

 

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – 1 John 2:10

Walk in the Way of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, ERV)

Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as His beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, TPT)

 

Anyone who is in Christ, is called and commanded to love. When we make the decision to follow God, we likewise are choosing to represent His likeness in our words and deeds. Just as a small child learns how to navigate the world by imitating his or her parent(s), so too, do we learn how to represent our Father in heaven, by imitating Christ in His love for the world. His love is patient and kind, it does not envy or boast, it isn’t proud, rude, selfish nor easily angered, and it does not keep record of wrongs. His love delights in the truth, always protects, trusts, hopes and always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:4-7) Not only is Christ our example, but He is also our strength and grace in the moments that loving seems too difficult to do on our own. When we seek Him, He is present to help. May we ever pursue the path of love, for we are our best versions of ourselves when it is evident that we are the beloved sons and daughters of the Lord.

Yesterday, mom spent an hour and a half with the in-home physical therapist, as the initial assessment was done. She was encouraged to get back to it, and is eager to meet the speech therapist on Wednesday as well. So far, it has been determined that mom will have in-home physical therapy twice per week, and we will know more about speech therapy after Wednesday. Occupational therapy is still in the works to be scheduled, so we are hopeful that the assessment for that will take place prior to the week’s end. All is forward momentum, so mom was upbeat and feeling good about all that lies ahead. She and Megan were on their way out the door to run an errand, so I know my sister is continuing to keep a crazy busy schedule, as she balances work, family, sports schedules, appointments, and the running around that takes place with a household of five. Please continue to pray for strength and peace, as her work schedule alone is insane.

 

Help us each to choose, Inscribed on Human Hearts

To imitate Christ;

In word and in deed,

Most worthwhile, a price.

For love is the way,

To show the Lord’s heart;

A choice to give grace,

And peace to impart.

Just as the Lord gives,

So we should give too;

For love conquers all,

Allows His light through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us all that we need to follow Your example of love through Your Son. Thank You that You not only call us, but You equip and empower us to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose the most excellent way in You. Show us how to love, even those who are being unkind or are difficult to love, as so often, they are the ones who need love the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us so that we may love others in the same way that we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Choose a Life of Love

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, NLT)

Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, ERV)

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 5:2, MSG)

 

When we choose to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us, we are a pleasing aroma to God. The idea of our offering being a sweet scent before our Maker is a remarkable reminder that our choice to love matters. Likewise, as we love others as Christ loves us, we are a pleasing aroma to people. When we observe or are the recipients of words or deeds that are not done in love, often the way we describe the situation is that it stinks. I imagine that before God, there is a stench when we are not acting according to His love. We have been given the greatest example that ever was to follow, and He equips us to go and do the same. The decision to choose to live out a life of love is ours, and the choice we make matters. May we each opt to live the life of love that God has prepared for us, and go forth as a sweet scent before both the Lord and those whom He places on our path.

 

The sweet scent of Christ, Love Made Known

Is one full of love;

For His sacrifice,

Grace, His true motive.

Christ’s own sacrifice,

Created the way;

For us to receive,

And give love away.

He did not withhold,

But chose to give all;

So we too could love,

And answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life lived out in love is a pleasing aroma before You. Thank You Jesus, for being the ultimate example of how to love without limits. Forgive us for the times that we opt to withhold love when we are called to extend that which we have been given. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love anyway, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of love. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28