Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Created With Purpose

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us  to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

God created each of us with a purpose. He uniquely designed us all with different gifts and talents that He intended us to use for His glory. When we look to God and His leading as we navigate our days, we begin to walk in the good works that He prepared for us to do. This applies to all things, big and small. Sometimes, a good work prepared for us is to extend kindness, to have a conversation with someone that just needs to be heard, or simply a smile or a hello. Often, we have no idea of the impact our decisions have on others. However, I can look to my own life and interactions and give God glory for the times that He clearly placed people along my path to be encouraged, strengthened and supported. Who we are is heaven’s poetry etched on our lives. For me, that is powerful imagery that strengthens my desire to walk out my purpose every minute of every day. May we ever seek the Lord to show us the good He is calling us to do, and then walk forward in obedience to Him.

Made with a purpose,

Each of us are known;

Uniquely crafted,

So love might be shown.

Lord, help us to walk,

On the path You’ve made;

Let Your good be done,

Throughout all our days.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To walk as You do;

Each day as a gift,

To show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us is uniquely designed with a plan and a purpose for our lives. Thank You that we don’t have to have it all figured out, but rather we are meant to be in communication with You and listen to Your leading each new day. Forgive us for the times that we just go, rather than seek You first to lead. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that Your heart may be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us each new day so that we might walk out our purpose. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Think About Each Other

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, HCSB)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

If we take our eyes off of ourselves and take a look around us, it is easy to see the need for love, kindness and good deeds all around us. I know for me, when I am the recipient of such, I am inspired to go and do likewise. The status quo gets disrupted in the very best way, I am compelled to do differently. May we each be concerned about those around us – our family, our friends, our colleagues, and each individual we encounter in a day, to look for ways to encourage and make the day a bit brighter. Sometimes, it is as simple as extending a smile or kind word. Lord, help us to be ever listening to Your leading so that we might encourage each other and make Your goodness known.

Lord, help us to look,

Fill one another’s cup.

To see all around;

The need of others,

Let Your good be found.

Show us through Your eyes,

How each person’s seen;

Lead us in Your love,

Be encouraging.

Bring the good to mind,

That will bless, build up;

The goodness and love,

That will fill each cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to care well for one another. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this for us. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated care, concern and encouragement in countless ways. From touching the untouchable, to feeding those who were hungry, You lived and loved in practical and tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to trust in You and to listen in every situation and circumstance. Show us Your heart for each person we encounter and lead us to love and encourage as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for ways to love, encourage and do good for those around us. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Stand Firm

So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stand firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

We are called to stand firm and be strong in who God has called us to be, and in what He calls us to do. No matter how seen or behind the scenes it is, God will use what we offer in love. Everything matters, from the smallest act of kindness to the greatest sacrifice, all is used for good when the heart behind it is for God. May we ever stay firmly planted in the good that God calls us to do, and trust that He is working, even when we cannot see the evidence of an impact. 

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that we are all uniquely designed with different talents and gifts to share. Thank You that every act of kindness matters. Forgive us for thinking that our choice to love does not matter and for the times that we have neglected to act in love. Teach us to stand firm in You at all times and in every circumstance. Lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in Your love and Your purposes for us. Amen.

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

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Intentionally Designed

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it. – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

Just as a poet carefully selects words, lines and stanzas, so too did God intentionally design each of us with a plan and a purpose. Our charge is to live out our days being who He intended us to become. God created all of us with specific strengths, traits and talents that we can use to bless and love well the people whom He places in our lives. Yet, even so, the Creator of all has given us a free will. It is up to us to choose to do the good that we were designed to do. We are not robots nor minions; we are His creation that gets to choose to live out our purpose or do our own thing. I don’t know about you, but knowing that I am free to choose implores me to discover more of who He is and what He desires for me to do to be all that He has created me to become. May we ever seek the Lord and pursue His will for our lives so that we may become all that He has intended as we do the good He intended for us all.

We are His poem,

Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels.com

Each stanza and line;

Designed with purpose,

With goodness in mind.

The gifts we’re given,

Were granted to bless;

To use for His good,

So love is expressed.

Help us to seek You,

So that we may know;

The plan and purpose,

That makes Your love known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have designed and created each of us with a plan and a purpose that is for good. Thank You that we have all been given strengths and talents that are unique to us, individually, that help show the goodness and depth of Your love for all. Forgive us for not seeking or for neglecting to do the good that we know we ought to do. Teach us to trust and depend on You more to rise up and thrive as the people You designed us to be. Show us how to love and do good to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and grow us more and more into the poetry You have created us to be. Amen.

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

I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. – Psalm 57:2

Created for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

Let Us Consider

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV) 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV) 

Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. – (Hebrews 10:24, TPT) 

When I read this passage, what kept coming to mind is knowing the love language of those around us, so that we may offer encouragement and express love in the way that they receive it best. For example, I am all about quality time. When others are intentional to give me their time and attention, especially to go and do things together, my heart is filled and encouraged, and I feel known. However, my husband is an acts of service guy. He notices and values every effort to do things that speak love through action. The better we know those around us, the more equipped we are to love and serve one another in the way that expresses love best. Care, conversation, observation, and listening are simple ways that we can discover how to love and encourage those around us best. This is no small task, but rather an intentional act of love. We also can lead by acting in compassion, so that we might compel those around us to do the same. May we ever invest in the lives of those around us, so that we may encourage each other to show love and compassion, and do good works. 

Lord, help us to seek, 

Love, listen and learn; 

How to encourage, 

In wisdom, discern. 

We need to know how, 

To love others best; 

By Your grace, love well, 

So each may feel blessed. 

Show us, Lord Jesus, 

How to truly love; 

In word and in deed, 

Hold others above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us best. Thank You that as we seek You, You will show us how to love one another in the same way. Forgive us for our lack of listening and the spaces where we have lacked love. Teach us to listen and learn, seek and discover, the ways that encourage and show love best. Lead us to love those around us in word and deed, so that all may know the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to encourage one another to love and do good. Amen. 

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

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

Inspired to Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

This is a season in which people are either most readily willing to step out and love greater and do good works in the name of “the Christmas Spirit”, or are most in need of being blessed, as lack or loss or absence makes this season extraordinarily difficult for them. Giving trees and Random Acts of Kindness are just a few of the simple ways that we are able to demonstrate love through good deeds. Being intentionally aware of those around us is a wonderful way to start. It is not difficult to find someone in need of encouragement or a kind word. Such things take little from us, yet have the capacity to turn a day around, simply by allowing another to know that they are seen and that they matter. As we continue to walk out these last few weeks leading to Christmas, may we consider how to spur one another on in love and good deeds, so all may know the kindness of Christ this sacred season.

 

May we consider, Inspired to Love

How to best inspire;

To choose love greater,

Spread good like wild fire.

Look for the spaces,

Reach out and do good;

Help one another,

Just as we each should.

One act of kindness,

A sweet spoken word;

Make the difference,

Of how truth is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your goodness and kindness are present throughout all of our days, if we only slow down and look around to take notice. Thank You that You call us to do the same, so that we may encourage one another. Forgive us for the opportunities to do good or love well that we did not take. Teach us to rise up and love like You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that bless tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we consider how to love, encourage and do good, as You are calling us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Prepare

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

As the calendar turns another page and we are now making our way into December, the word that keeps coming to my heart and mind, is “prepare”. I did a quick biblical word study, and discovered that the many mentions of preparing or preparation were for battles, arrivals, departures, deaths, feasts, sacrifices, celebrations and ceremonies. In each instance, those preparing were the ones whom had been called. The tenth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians, helps us recognize that we all have been called, created and prepared to do good works that God has planned for us. It is not difficult to find places where good is needed during this holy season, and we are each meant to step in and offer what we have to give – be it our time, our talents or our resources. Our heart is what requires preparation the most frequently, as the distractions all around us can dull our awareness to the places we have been prepared to extend good. May we slow down often in this sacred season, to prepare our hearts, so that we are ready and available to do the good things that God has for us to do.

 

This sacred season,Prepare

May we rise, prepare;

Set our hearts on good,

And how we can share.

For we’re created,

Each of us prepared;

With plan and purpose,

In God’s loving care.

Let us each choose seek,

So that we may find;

The good we can do,

In love for mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the same way You prepared each one of us with a plan and a purpose, may we too, prepare our hearts this season, to walk out the good that You have for us to give. Thank You that we all have something to offer, be it our time, talent or resources. Forgive us for the times that we think we have nothing to give, or we neglect to slow down and look for ways to extend Your heart to others in this sacred season. Teach us to take time to listen to Your leading, and to be willing to walk out whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways this season, that make Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare our hearts in the same way that You prepared each of us, to do good and represent You well. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Heaven’s Handiwork

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

Though I seldom feel like a masterpiece, I know that I am clay in the Potter’s hands. I am His, and He is continually etching heaven’s poetry on my heart and in my life. Watching my children grow into young men, has been the greatest reminder of my charge to do the good that God prepared for me in advance. In spite of my flaws and failures, God has grown my boys into kind, thoughtful, intelligent, loving, handsome young men, with hearts that are set on loving people well. Each one is a masterpiece that I have been blessed to witness in the works. The beautiful thing for all of us, is that we are His handiwork that is continually being crafted and honed, until the day we meet Him face-to-face. We do not have to be in “final form” to be effective in doing the good work that He calls us to do; rather as we do each next thing, our hearts are further shaped to mirror His. May we delight in the hands that hold and shape us into our best selves as we seek Him, and ever pursue opportunities to carry out good works to which we are called.

The masterpiece that is my mom, was excited to view the sneak peek photos from my boys’ senior photo shoot. For those who know mom, it is clear that pictures are a priority for her, as she has family photos hung throughout her home, with an enormous shelf at the end of the hallway, full of photo albums. Christmas gifts for mom this year will be a bit easier to choose. 😉 We kept missing one another with phone calls, but thankfully, the text full of photos made the needed connection yesterday.

 

For we each are called, img_2019-10-30_04-43-17994737177984006958.jpg

God’s own work of art;

Made with a purpose,

He’s known from the start.

When God looks at us,

He calls His work good;

The Lord’s masterpiece,

Purposed livelihood.

Heaven’s poetry,

Etched upon each heart;

How can we argue,

Or question His art?

Rise up in wonder,

In awe, choose embrace;

The call to do good,

Love others with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose to do good works as Your intentionally and purposefully handcrafted works of art. Thank You that we are constantly being refined so that we may more clearly reflect heaven’s poetry through how we live our lives. Forgive us for questioning Your handiwork or for neglecting to do the good that You created us to do. Teach us to trust Your hands and Your leading, as You provide all that we need to do whatever it is that is asked of us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may understand the work of art that they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the plans and purpose that You have for each of us, and for the intentional art that You have created each of us to become as we move forward according to Your calling. Amen.

 

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

 

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. – Psalm 33:11