Rooted to Grow in Love

…I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – (Ephesians 3:17b-19, HCSB)

…I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. – (Ephesians 3:17b-19, ERV)

…May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. – (Ephesians 3:17b-19, VOICE)

Though this is part of Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, it still remains relevant for us today. The more we understand the greatness of God’s love for us, the more we pursue Him and discover that we are flooded with the goodness of His presence and the fullness of His love for us all. As we seek Him, God reveals more and more of who He is and how He loves. May we ever keep seeking the Lord and lean into His love, so that we may be filled and pour out to all those around us.

May the love of God,

Be planted in us;

Rooted, established,

Through the Lord Jesus.

The gift of His love,

Beyond what is seen;

By grace it surrounds,

Shows us what love means.

Without conditions,

His love knows no end;

The height, depth and width,

Through all things extend.

In Him we are strong,

And truly loved well;

We’re filled and equipped,

To share and to tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love goes beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that the more we seek You, the more we begin to grasp the depth, height, and width of the endless reach and enormity of Your love. Forgive us for not recognizing Your nearness and for neglecting to extend the same love that we have been given. Teach us to trust and rely on You to fill us to overflowing so that we can go forth and love as You call us to love. Show us how to love and encourage everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to receive all that You have to offer, and reach out to extend the same goodness that You have given us to all those around us. Amen.

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

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

So Love Shines Through

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints – and you continue to serve them. – (Hebrews 6:10, HCSB)

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)

Because God is not unjust or unfair, He won’t overlook the work you have done or the love you have carried to each other in His name while doing His work, as you are still doing. – (Hebrews 6:10, VOICE)

When we love and serve those around us like Jesus, He sees, knows and remembers. He is pleased when we love others as He has loved us. We do not do these things to get something, but rather it is out of the overflow of all that He has done for us that we are propelled to do likewise. May we ever be aware of the goodness of God and how He loves us, so that we may go forth and serve in love, helping those around us like Him.

The Lord is faithful,

He sees what we do;

Not for a reward,

But so love shines through.

Each time we choose love,

Show kindness and serve;

The Lord is well pleased,

For good is observed.

Not our own goodness,

But rather, it’s His;

To do what He’s done,

And give as He gives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your goodness, kindness, mercy and love, over and over again. Thank You that it is from that place of knowing Your grace, that we are equipped and empowered to love and serve like You. Thank You that You see and remember and are pleased when we love others as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have not. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us to love and serve well in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love and serve each person we meet, so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love and serve out of the overflow of all that You continue to pour into us. Amen.

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

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Nothing Without Love

If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, HCSB)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and may I have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ERV)

What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, VOICE)

No matter what good we do or say, it is meaningless if love is not our reason. God calls and commands us to love. All words and gestures are lost if love is not the motivation. In order to love in all things, we must be equipped and filled. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is a practical application of actions without love. When we become depleted without refreshment, all that we say and do becomes out of obligation rather than motivated by love. Obligation is exhausting. In reality, we all have obligations, yet when we are filled and equipped with love, we are able to fulfill what is required with love and intention rather than frustration. May we begin each day by seeking our Savior so that we may be refreshed, renewed and made ready to love in all things.

Empty are all things,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

If love is not there;

For only with love,

Can we show we care.

May all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be done fueled by love,

So God’s heart shines through.

Help us be people,

After Your own heart;

Lead us in Your love,

As each new day starts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the most excellent way is love. Thank You that You call and equip us to love. Forgive us for the things we have said and done that were not motivated and equipped with Your love. Teach us to rely on You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to do all things in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each new day to lead us well so that all that we say and do is done in love. Amen.

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

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Live Out Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – (1 John 4:16, NIV)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

Once a person truly experiences the love that God has for us, there is an innate desire to know and understand more. The more we seek, the more we find. As we do, we learn to live in God’s love as He dwells in us, and cannot help but live out the same love that we have been given. The challenge is that we must trust Him to truly love like Him. When we doubt His love or lack trust, we are inhibited in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His great love, and choose to trust and live in the love that He so lavishly provides.

To know the Lord’s love,

Our greatest blessing;

Faithful and lavish,

Worth seeking, pressing.

For each time we seek,

God’s love shall be found;

Grace unimagined,

And hope that is sound.

May we choose pursue,

The love that He gives;

So we love likewise,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to know and rely on Your love, we are equipped and empowered to love likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have not pursued or have lacked Your love for others. Teach us to trust and rely on You so that we may love one another like You. Show us how to love everyone whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and receive the love You have for us so that we too, may love well. Amen.

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

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – Psalm 107:8

Tend Well the Temple

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

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

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

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

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

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

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

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

Blessings of Grace

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – (John 1:16, NIV)

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – (John 1:16, ERV)

And from the overflow of His fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace! – (John 1:16, TPT)

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. (dictionary.com) Though we do not deserve it, God freely gives. In the same way that we are given such lavish grace, we are called to do likewise. The more we understand the grace upon grace that we have been given, the more we desire to give the same to those around us. Puppy training is an ongoing saga in our household. We have one extraordinarily intelligent and mischievous pup, and one that is super sweet, yet reactive to other dogs. Much grace is required to remain sane, as we work to train our fur babies to behave and peacefully coexist. When I take pause and think of the lavish grace that God has given and continues to give to me, I find that I am better equipped to be gracious to others. This holds true with the pups and with other humans, as each new day requires much grace. Though there is only One who perfected such grace, we can improve every day as we seek Him. May we ever look to the Lord, our incredible giver of grace, so that we too, may extend grace upon grace to those around us.

It’s freely given,

God’s great gift of grace;

Undeserved favor,

And welcome embrace.

Just as we receive,

We also should give;

Extending goodness,

Each day that we live.

Love that’s undeserved,

Is valued the most;

Beautiful blessings,

From heaven’s own Host.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love and give grace;

Embrace all others,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that You give to us all. Thank You that as we receive, we are equipped to give the same. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked grace in how we have interacted with others. Teach us to love and be full of grace with everyone we encounter. Show us how to love lavishly and without expectations of anything in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You lovingly give, and extend the same to all those around us. Amen.

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

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:2

Peace Makes a Way

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow the peace of Christ to come and dwell within us, we are equipped and empowered to be promoters of peace to those around us. It is by God’s grace that we are placed exactly where we are for this very season, and it is out of a heart of gratitude that we discover His peace and purpose for us. I had mixed feelings as I left campus yesterday. It was the last day of a long and challenging year, and my class load for next year was shared with me. Though I was thrilled to know that I will have three sections of art, the two sections of 8th grade English grieved my heart a bit. The grieving is over the loss of working on a fabulous team with dear friends with a curriculum that I finally feel like I know, yet the two ladies that I will be teaming with next year are incredible, so I do look forward to getting to know them better. Peace was disrupted by the thought of yet again, having to learn an all new curriculum, causing me to feel like a brand new teacher. This is a space that I have to trust in God’s grace, and allow His peace to cover me. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and grace and allow the peace of God to fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and be promoters of peace.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With Your perfect peace;

May all our concerns,

To You, be released.

As we choose let go,

You fill us with peace;

‘Til it overflows,

Anxieties cease.

All thanks unto You,

Throughout all our days;

Lead us in Your love,

As peace makes a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your perfect peace so that we can go and bring peace to those around us. Thank You that Your grace covers us and Your love fills us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed circumstances to steal the perfect peace You provide. Teach us to trust You with everything, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our cares and concerns and rely on You to provide our perfect peace. Amen.

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17

Blessed to Love

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, TPT)

By faith, we can grow in goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, devotion to God, kindness, mercy and love. Each of these attributes are in existence to help us love as we were called to love. To love God and love people, we need all of these things. Our faith directs and draws us in to seek the Lord. As we do, we grow in goodness and understanding, and are equipped with strength, self-control and patient endurance. With these things, our devotion and kindness grows, and love more easily flows from us. Everyday, I need a fresh supply of each of these. God is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him. Though we are flawed and fall short, we can continue to be devoted to the One who grows good things within us. As we grow, our lives pour out the overflow to all of those around us. My hope is that each day, there is less of me and more of Him. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more, so that we may love as we were designed to love.

Grow us, Lord Jesus,

In each of these things;

So we may love more,

Please tune our heart strings.

Goodness and knowledge,

And true self-control;

Faithful devotion,

Teach us to love well.

May perseverance,

Help us to press on;

Devoted and kind,

‘Til our days are gone.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In all that we do;

Let our lives reflect,

A love just like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are forever willing to grow, refine and empower us to love more like You. Forgive us for the times that we are reactive, rather than seeking You to lead us well. Teach us how to pursue You each day, so that we may grow more like You. Show us how to love as You love, with kindness, gentleness, mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow our hearts more like Yours so that we may love as You intended. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11