What Love Brings

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people who God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

This weekend has been a whirlwind, and I have seen God work for the good in incredible ways. First, on Saturday, the high school gymnastics team received some heartbreaking news, just prior to leaving for the state qualifying meet. The ride to the meet was quite somber, and then the incredible support, love and kindness expressed through the head coach’s words of care and concern for all those impacted, led the entire group to enter the building, wiping eyes and leaning on each other. I was in awe at how the girls rallied together and leaned on one another for strength, as they determined that they would persevere and do their best, despite their present circumstance. Good did indeed come from the resolve displayed by these young ladies, as they qualified as a team to compete in the state meet next weekend.

The second example of God working for good that I witnessed this weekend, was as my Viking and I spent the day back in Wenatchee with Mom. Already, we can see the good and beautiful that is yet to come, through her being back in her own hometown. Her joy as we ran errands together and helped set up her new space, was abundantly clear, at the recognition of how far God has brought her, and how much more He has in store for Mom, back in her own community.

Examples such as these, are reminders that God has a plan to work everything for good in our lives; even the most challenging of circumstances. He can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Our charge is to trust and follow Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His leading, so that we may walk in the goodness that He has planned for each of our lives.

 

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The Lord can bring good;

Beyond what we’d hope,

His grace understood.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope up from despair;

God makes a new way,

Shows our hearts He cares.

Lean into the Lord,

Seek Him in all things;

Trust His faithfulness,

And watch what love brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You and seek Your face. Thank You for showing Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You that You love and protect, care for and provide. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when all we can see is the dark or the despair. Teach us how to trust You in troubled times, for You move mountains, even when we cannot see Your work. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your love, hope, faithfulness and care for them in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to follow Your leading for every next step in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

To Demonstrate Love

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

We are commanded,

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

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Wherever God Dwells

God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. – (Psalm 46:5, NLT) 

God is in the midst of His city, secure and never shaken. At daybreak His help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn. – (Psalm 46:5, TPT) 

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. – (Psalm 46:5, NIV) 

 

The city the author is referring to is the promised New Jerusalem. Incredibly, God’s promises for us are similar when He dwells within us. His protection, help and strength are new every morning. This is great encouragement, as there are days I feel like I may sink. Each day, God provides new strength, help and His presence. For an early riser like myself, I witness His ushering in of each distinct dawn, as light chases away the dark of night. The NIV translation feels like personal encouragement. Though the verse is in reference to the city of God, His promises are for His people. All who love the Lord and follow Him, are a part of that city that cannot be destroyed. May we seek the Lord to be our security and strength, and give Him praise that His help is new every morning. 

 

Wherever God dwells, Established Peace

Shall not be destroyed; 

For where the Lord is, 

His strength is employed. 

Each brand-new morning, 

His help is renewed; 

With each rising sun, 

Faithfulness proved true. 

Choose trust in the One, 

Whose mercy won’t fail; 

Where darkness exists, 

His light will prevail. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are within us; You will not fail. Thank You that You help us anew at the dawning of each new day. Forgive us for our fear and doubts when we feel as if the darkness will overtake us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how the light within destroys the darkness that surrounds. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers strength, hope and light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our trust in You and rely on You to be our strength and help, as Your provision is new every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Choose to Follow

Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. – (Mark 1:20)

 

This verse is in reference to when Jesus called James and John to come and follow Him. “Although it took time for Jesus’ call and His message to get through, the disciples followed. In the same way, we may question and falter, but we must never stop following.” – (NIV footnotes for Mark 1:16-20) It is our charge to do likewise. Though we may not always understand, and we make mistakes and have questions, our call is to keep following Christ. As we do, our faith will grow and our understanding of His ways and His will shall multiply. He is faithful to meet us where we are, if we are willing to choose to follow Him. Following Christ will not necessarily be convenient, nor easy, but it will always be worthwhile. May we set aside our nets, and simply follow Him.

 

To heed the call,Choose to Follow

forego delay;

set aside all,

and choose obey.

All that He asks,

of us today;

may we stand up,

trust in His way.

Despite unknown,

do anyway;

He shall remain,

now and always.

He is faithful,

and hears us pray;

He will answer,

rest in His stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to follow You, we need not always understand everything, or be without flaw, as long as we continue after You. Thank You that the longer we follow You, the more You reveal Yourself to us. Forgive us for our flawed thinking and understanding about who You are, and how You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may grow in Your grace and gain deeper insight as to who You are, and just how much You love each one of us. May we go forth and love others, as You so generously love each of us. May lives be changed and hearts be healed as Your love is revealed to those who seek You. Be glorified, O God, as we follow You in faith. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14