To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

Tenderness Tapers Tempers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Gentle Presence

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, NIV) 

Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. – (Philippians 4:5, ERV) 

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE) 

The Voice translation resonates the most clearly with me, as the people I have known who have demonstrated God’s love in practical and tangible ways, have a gentle nature that makes me aware of the Lord’s nearness. Peace pours out from a gentle and kind spirit, and love begets love. Because God is always with us, we are loved and equipped in such a way, that we may have a gentle nature, even in spaces where we have to utilize great strength. Gentleness does not mean weak, but rather it is the strength to extend kindness in love, even when it seems counterproductive. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. The more we pursue Him, the greater our desire to love as He loves; for He sees all of His creation through His lens of love. Imagine if all of us chose to allow our gentleness to be evident to all. Kindness and love would become the standard mode of operation, and God’s love would be abundantly clear all around us. May we ever seek the Lord to fill and lead us, so that His gentleness in us may be obvious. 

Lord, teach us, show us, 

To be gentle, kind; 

To love as You love, 

So Your peace we’ll find. 

Your nearness to us, 

The strength that we need; 

To walk in Your grace, 

And follow Your lead. 

Grant us eyes to see, 

How gentleness spreads; 

The more that we love, 

Do as Your word says. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love with a gentleness like Yours. Thank You that You provide the strength we need to be gentle and kind. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our own ego, hurt or frustration to dictate how we respond to those around us, rather that choosing to respond gently in love. Show us how to walk in Your gentleness and love so that all those around us may be aware of the greatness of Your grace and the beauty of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and wisdom to live out our days with a heart set on being gentle and kind. Amen. 

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

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1 

Reveal Your Loving Ways

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV) 

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel.  – (Psalm 119:64, MSG) 

Give me more revelation of Your ways, for I see Your love and tender care everywhere. – (Psalm 119:64, TPT) 

This morning, I had the joy of getting out to get some exercise before the sun was up. Driving to meet up with my running buddy, I was in awe of the enormous full moon and planets that were in plain view. Everywhere I look, there is evidence of God’s love and care. Because of the very same love that made the moon and hung the stars in the sky, I long to live according to His good and perfect will. The more I recognize His love, the greater my desire is to live likewise. In order to do so, I must invest time and energy into learning and growing in His love. The more I observe His love in action, the more compelled I am to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we may love one another as He first loved us. 

The whole earth is filled, 

With God’s fingerprints; 

Throughout creation, 

His love, He imprints. 

Lord, help me to see, 

To learn and to grow; 

To love as You love, 

So Your heart is shown. 

Help me seek counsel, 

For in You, I find; 

How I’m meant to love, 

And how to be kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the whole earth is filled with Your love, if only we open our eyes to see it. Thank You that You lovingly and willingly teach us to live and love according to Your will as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have been blind to Your good, or have chosen to wander on our own. Teach us to trust You and follow Your leading to live and love well. Show us how to love those around us as You do. Grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become acutely aware of Your love all around us, and learn to walk in Your ways. Amen. 

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

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – Psalm 119:18

All Thanks for His Goodness

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV) 

Give testimony about the Eternal because He is good; His loyal love lasts forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, VOICE) 

One of my favorite testimonies about God’s goodness is how He provided the person that He had for me, despite the unlikely pairing. If it were not for our mutual friendship with my best friend, we would likely have never met. What began as a candid conversation on her deck, a little over four years ago, turned into a marriage that is blessed, and the clear provision of God’s love for each of us through each other. I am so thankful for the Lord’s goodness, and today I am extra grateful as we celebrate my Viking’s birthday. God’s goodness is all around us, and He deserves all of our thanks and praise. May we recognize God’s goodness and grace in those whom He brings into our lives, and look back and remember all of the ways in which His love has supported, strengthened and carried us, all throughout our lives. All thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His faithful love never ends. 

May we count the ways, 

That the Lord is good; 

In love and in life, 

His grace understood. 

Faithful forever, 

His love never fails; 

Even in darkness, 

His goodness prevails. 

All praise to the Lord, 

In light of His grace; 

For all that He does, 

And His loving ways. 

For those that He brings, 

To show us His love; 

Forever faithful, 

Thanks to God above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us so well. Thank You for the incredible blessing of those whom You gift to us in our lives. Thank You today, (and everyday) for the amazing gift of the one whom You knew my heart needed. Forgive us for not thanking You enough for Your goodness and love, as there is nothing that compares to You and Your love for us all. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your heart for them through our love. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your everlasting love and goodness that surrounds us every day of our lives. We love You, Lord. Amen. 

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

Surely You have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence. – Psalm 21:6

How We Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NIV)

The light of God’s love shined within us when He sent His matchless Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, TPT)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

 

We know love, because God first loved us. Jesus made the way for all who choose believe and receive, to access a love so great, that once it is known, it must be shared. The beauty of God’s love is that it is so all-encompassing that we are filled to overflowing and cannot help but give love as we have been given. Our challenge is to actually receive what is being extended. When we truly take the time to taste and see how good God is and how vast His love is for each one of us, it is impossible to not be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is in that space of grace, when we are fully aware, that we long to give that which we have been given. May we each take pause and allow God’s love to wash over us so that we may view others through His lens of love.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is granted to us;

Ready to receive,

Through His Son, Jesus.

In Him there is life,

Grace and lasting love;

Floods both heart and mind,

As we trust above.

And as we receive,

We expand and grow;

Equipped to love well,

So grace overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us love and to equip us with the capacity to love others as we are loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view others through Your lens of love, and extend all of Your goodness and grace to each person we meet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your light and love in ways that bless their hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have to give so that we may go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Great Comfort in Knowing

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love – not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, ERV)

For I have every confidence that nothing – not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing – can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, VOICE)

 

There is great comfort in knowing that there is nothing that surrounds us, comes against us, nor that we could go through, that can separate us from the love of God. His love is eternal and knows no limits. Whether we are having a wonderful day or a day that we would rather have remained in bed, God’s love for us is constant, consistent, and secure. Being loved when we are least lovable, demonstrates the true depth of love granted to us. It is not earned nor somehow rewarded, but rather freely given as the Creator loves His created. May we receive and recognize the remarkable love of our Redeemer, so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

 

O Lord, as I rise, wp-15820303444235351272726723109852.jpg

Make Your love so clear;

No matter what comes,

Show me that You’re near.

There’s no height nor depth,

That can keep away;

The goodness You give,

When to You, we pray.

Go before us Lord,

With Your love and light;

Be near and guide us,

To choose what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that as we receive the love You offer, You equip us to go forth and love others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have either not received what You freely give, or have withheld what we were meant to extend to those around us. Show us how to love one another well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your limitless love, and seek You to love others in the same way. Amen.

 

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

 

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – Titus 3:4-5a

Statements of Praise

 

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

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Any time that there is repetition in scripture, I recognize the need to take notice. In this particular Psalm, the same sentence is repeated four times by David, as he tells of a long list of God’s faithfulness to those who belonged to Him. I imagine many of us, particularly in this season, could create our own list of ways that God has shown His unfailing love and mercy, and follow each remembrance with a statement of praise. For me, in spite of much heaviness that has found our household this year, there has been in equal measure, God’s faithful provision, joy, peace, comfort, and abundant blessing. Perhaps it is why I so often find myself settling in the Psalms, as David understood the highest heights and the deepest depths, yet sought the Lord and praised Him through it all. He was human and fell short, yet searched for God, and was receptive to the Lord’s correcting and redirecting as he continued to move forward and give thanks. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His miracles of mercy that He pours out upon those whom He calls His own.

 

When life knocks us down,Statements of Praise

Takes wind from our sails;

The Lord’s love and grace,

Comes near, never fails.

In seasons of loss,

Struggle and heartache;

The Lord’s love remains,

And miracles take.

Where blessings abound,

And grace is made known;

Again, it’s God’s love,

And His power shown.

Rise up and give thanks,

For love that won’t end;

For wonderful deeds,

That move God’s love in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and for the wonderful things that You do for those who follow You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and move mightily on our behalf. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Forgive us for allowing discouragement or sorrow to cause us to question Your love or care for us. Teach us to trust You through every high and low, as You remain present through all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may make Your unfailing love and marvelous kindness tangible in spaces where it is difficult to access. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and Your miraculous deeds, done on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

United in Peace

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, ERV)

Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of life for my father-in-law with my husband, sister-in-law, her husband, and my brother-in-law. Incredibly, despite the eclectic collection of family brought together by loss, there was a sense of peace in the room, despite normal tensions between some of the various family members. Everyone seemed to set aside their differences for the sake of celebrating their eldest sibling/uncle. Stories were shared around tables, and much laughter filled the room. I think Donald would have been pleased to see smiling faces, rather than tears, and delighted at the distance that so many traveled to gather in his honor. The sentiment that Mark, his brother and I walked away with, was gratitude. We were thankful for the opportunity to see the aunts, uncles and cousins all together in one place, and to have had a positive and peaceful gathering together with family.

 

Each chance that we get,

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6/7 of the remaining siblings in top photo. Their children in photo below.

Rise up and choose peace;

Preserve what God gives,

Allow grace release.

A spirit of peace,

Invites others in;

Broadens your circle,

It’s how grace begins.

Go forth in God’s grace,

Sow always, His peace;

Let God’s love be known,

For it shall not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us peace in places it seems unlikely. Thank You for empowering us with Your Spirit to extend peace wherever we go. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected our role as purveyors of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to go before us, walk beside us, and dwell within us in peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that promote Your peace wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and share Your peace wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12