Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. 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. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Help in the Heaviness

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we are able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT) 

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV) 

He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, VOICE) 

 

There are times that the weight of loss or struggle or hardships around us, find a way of seeping into our soul, causing sorrow to set heavy on our heart. Yesterday, as we heard the devastating news that a former student from our school, a boy who was in my own boys’ grade and classes, died Tuesday night, from gunshot wounds. Though I did not ever have him as a student, I did teach his younger sister and currently teach his younger brother. As I hesitantly pulled out an old yearbook to place a face with the name, the weight of the grief rested heavily through the recognition of the familiar smiling face of the young man. My own experience with loss has taught me that time eases the pain, however, that is likely little comfort for those closest to him who are only beginning to process the permanence of this tragic loss. I pray that God would surround each hurting heart with the comfort needed most, and that every need would be provided as they navigate this devastating reality. May we all be extra kind and compassionate in this season, as heavy hearts are hidden among us. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We call on Your Name; 

To hold heavy hearts, 

Love well through the pain. 

Lord, will You show us, 

What we’re meant to do; 

To extend Your grace, 

Help see others through. 

Show us how to love, 

Others through their pain; 

Let us be Your light, 

That through all remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, even when the circumstances that surround us are not. Thank You that You see every heartache, and You hear every prayer. Thank You that You comfort us the way our hearts need it most. Forgive us for avoiding painful places that we see in others, rather than being present to offer comfort, just as You have comforted us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know how to be present in heaviness, and how to comfort those who are hurting. Show us how to love those dealing with loss in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Comforter. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort to share with others, and thank You for the comfort that You continue to provide for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4

A Fountain of Life and Light

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. – (Psalm 36:9, NIV) 

The fountain of life flows from You. Your light lets us see light. – (Psalm 36:9, ERV) 

You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst. Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our souls. – (Psalm 36:9, VOICE) 

 

Spending time in a major city seems to open my eyes to where there is light and where it is lacking. Though that may be an alarmingly obvious statement, given the sizable homeless population that tends to reside in the downtown area of all major cities, I am actually speaking of the individuals with whom I had direct interaction – be it a cashier or a server or concierge, not just a smile, nod or “hello” on the street. Incidentally, I had several different conversations with a variety of folks, many of which were students from the nearby university. One seemed to be a bit distraught, as I asked her how her day was going. Between a late arrival to work, upcoming finals, and concern about making it home for the holidays, she was stressed and short on hope. I extended encouragement and wished her well throughout our brief conversation, and I now pray for the peace of God to be present as she navigates the next few weeks. When the light of the Lord is lacking, we are called to be His light, as His light within us, is made to illuminate the darkness. May we ever seek and depend on the Lord, who is the fountain of life that quenches our thirst and the light that opens our eyes and awakens our souls. 

 

God is a fountain, A Fountain of Life and Light

For each thirsty soul; 

He’ll fill and refresh, 

Restore and make whole. 

The light of the Lord, 

Opens eyes to see; 

Awakens the soul, 

To grace that sets free. 

Where there is no hope, 

God’s light makes hope known; 

Run to the Fountain, 

Where true love is shown. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of light and life and hope. Thank You that we can come to You and be filled, so that we can truly see. Forgive us for our tunnel vision that keeps us from seeing what surrounds us. Teach us to see the world through Your eyes, so that we would be ever aware of where Your light is lacking and shine Your love in such spaces. Show us how to love those around us who are hopeless or hurting or stuck in dark spots. Help us to extend light and life and hope in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our fountain of life and light, and seek You to show us life through the light of Your loving lens. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. – John 1:5

Consistent Kindness

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)

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

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

 

This verse is a go-to for teachers everywhere, especially the week of Halloween. Between the extra sugar infused in the growing bodies of middle schoolers, to the anticipation of what they will do with their time on the day itself (which happens to be early dismissal for them), kids are amped up and struggling to focus in the classroom. Patience, gentleness and kindness, especially toward those who are the most trying, is how we are called to navigate. The beauty in this is that with consistency over time, patience and gentleness prove themselves powerful, and often the most trying of tweens begin to soften. May we ever seek the One who is forever gentle and patient with us, allowing for our faults because of His unending love, so that we may go forth and do likewise.

 

Lord, let Your patience, Consistent Kindness

Lead us as we go;

So love and kindness,

Are the things we show.

For the most trying,

Oh God, give us grace;

Let each act of love,

Bring peace in our space.

Thank You that You have,

Endless love for us;

Help us do the same,

So others are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, kindness and love toward us. Thank You that You only call us to the things that You have shown us already. Forgive us for not walking in humility or patience with those who are most trying. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the patience and love required to walk in Your grace. Show us how to extend gentleness and kindness as we love those whom You have called us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be gentle and kind, extending grace to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Shared Strength in the Struggle

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

 

Yesterday was just one of those days. From my own children fighting on the way to school and work, to students struggling behaviorally all day long, by the time the bell rang to signify the close of the school day, I was exhausted. A few colleagues extended kind and encouraging words as I sought solutions to make preparations to alleviate the difficulties that I could control within my own classroom. Upon returning home, I was greeted by listening ears, that were supportive and solution-oriented. The boys all had work or activities to occupy their evening, so a bonus date night was bestowed upon me. Treasured time to relax and connect were exactly what my heart needed most, and the burden that had weighed so heavily upon me at the end of my school day, had now been lifted and replaced with fresh resolve. Love, help and support make a world of difference to the bearer of burdens, and doing such, is walking in obedience to Christ. May we ever extend help or a listening ear to those who are struggling, for doing so lightens the load and is an act of loving obedience, according to God’s good and perfect will.

 

May we choose to walk,10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

With eyes open wide;

Aware of struggles,

And come alongside.

Draw near to hurting,

Burdened or in need;

Help carry the weight,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

For as we draw near,

To help each other;

Burdens become light,

And grace discovered.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to carry burdens nor struggle alone. Thank You for the people whom You place in our lives that come along side us, and those whom we are meant to walk beside. Forgive us for not reaching out to those we see in the struggle, or for pretending all is well when it is not. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than any difficulty we face, and You never leave us nor forsake us. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us in a way that lightens the load they are bearing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we both reach out to give and readily receive Your mercy that is new every morning. Amen.

 

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

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

 

 

Clothed in His Character

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NLT)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

As God’s dearly loved children, we are called to clothe ourselves with His character. Thankfully, we are given specific attributes to lead us and guide us to represent our Father well. Just as we have been shown mercy, we too must be merciful to others. Kindness, humility, gentleness and patience ought to be the guiding principles that lead us in a life lived out in love. The more we know and understand what it is to be loved, the greater our capacity becomes to love in the same way. May we depend on the Lord to fill us with His love as we endeavor to understand and extend His kindness and compassion to others.

 

As we show mercy,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

God’s heart is made plain;

A love lived out loud,

Points hearts to His reign.

Kindness extended,

In humility;

Mends what is broken,

And sets captives free.

Patience has power,

As does gentleness;

Quietly they wait,

In love to express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to judge or create barriers between us and those who do things that do not align perfectly with the way we see the world. Thank You that You call us to love with mercy, kindness, patience and gentleness, just as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked Your love for others in our responses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond from a space of love that follows after Your heart. Show us how to extend mercy, be kind, have patience and extend gentleness to those around us in Your love. May many come to know You as Lord. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love through our mercy, kindness, patience and gentleness. Amen.

 

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

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. – Proverbs 31:25

The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Born to Bloom

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and unsaved all around us. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TLB)

We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God – a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TPT)

 

As I sat here pondering this verse, the image that came to mind for me is that of beautiful, fragrant flowers. The gardener who tends to the plants to trim, water, fertilize and assure proper light, yields healthy plants that produce sweet scents. Contrarily, those who do not provide that which plants need, discover the scent of death and decay soon emit from the perishing perennials. People are comparable when it comes to our faith. If we invest time in our relationship with our Redeemer, we learn and grow and become more like Him. As we do, the love, grace and kindness we extend, become a sweet scent to our Savior, as well as to those who are seeking something more. However, when we neglect the need for investing time with the very One who created us, we begin to wither and rot, stuck with a stench of angst and impatience, anger and a serious lack of love. May we ever seek the nourishment of our Maker, as He provides the soil, water and light that we need to bloom and become the sweet scent of life to all those around us.

 

The sweet scent of life, born-to-bloom.jpg

Through hope and His grace;

Are what we offer,

As we seek God’s face.

A life invested,

In loving the Lord;

Is grown to produce,

Sweet scent that’s adored.

For loving kindness,

Goodness and His light;

Are grown within us,

As we choose delight.

With all that we are,

May we seek His face;

So, our lives smell sweet,

And extend His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life invested in knowing and following You grows and develops us to give off the sweet scent of hope in You. Thank You that You cultivate this within us as we choose to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting time with You, as You are the One who removes the weeds and provides the water and sunlight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You room to come in and cultivate our lives into the fragrant offering You intended. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them breathe deeply from Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You, and allow You room to grow us so that we can bloom. Amen.

 

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

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Blessed Are Those Who Trust

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You. – (Psalm 84:12, NIV)

Lord of heavenly forces, those who trust in You are truly happy! – (Psalm 84:12, CEB)

O Eternal One, Commander of heaven’s armies, how fortunate are those who trust in You. – (Psalm 84:12, VOICE)

 

One week from today, I will be waking to wed the one whom my heart loves. This morning, I am in awe of the blessings bestowed upon me as I am overwhelmed with gratitude for another year of life and all that God has done. Like with anyone, there have been trials and triumphs. The more I learn to trust, the clearer the Lord’s nearness becomes through it all. Grace and strength and peace have been given anew each day, and He has shown me the depth of His love, as I am loved well by those whom He has placed in my life. This great love propels me to trust all the more, as He is faithful each time I turn to Him in faith. May we ever trust in the Lord above, as He blesses those who place their trust in Him.

 

Heavenly Father, Be Full of Joy

Above all the earth;

The more that we trust,

We learn of our worth.

Valued by You, Lord,

Commander of all;

You love us to life,

Catch us when we fall.

For grace and nearness,

The blessings You give;

Help us keep trusting,

Each day that we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts of life, light, goodness and grace that You give to those who trust in You. Thank You for the overwhelming blessings that You pour out upon us. Thank You that You are always near. Forgive us for not always trusting or placing our all before You. Continue to show us how trustworthy You truly are. Show us how to share Your love with all the ones that You have brought into our lives to extend Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You for all of our days and recognize the abundant blessings that You pour out upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

In You, Lord God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1