Be Kind to All

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV) 

‘’You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves. This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, MSG) 

Yesterday, the message delivered by one of the pastors at our church, resonated so clearly with me. (Link here, if you wish to listen.) His message mirrored the cry of my heart and what I have felt compelled to and ascertain to accomplish, for as long as I can recall. The bottom line is to love as God loves us. That means EVERYONE! Does this mean that I am successful every minute of every day? No. However, I am ever seeking to learn and grow and be established and rooted more deeply in Christ, so that I may do and be better each day. This is the reason that I refuse to engage in political banter on social media. When it is words being spewed into the oblivion, it seems to get really ugly, really rapidly. There is no capacity to see and hear the heart of the “speaker”, therefore it becomes a matter of attempting to prove why one’s own position is right, and the other is wrong. Kindness and love fall away, and what we are called to do, is far from done. We are not called to attempt to prove why our thinking is right and the other person’s is wrong. We are called to LOVE. Period. End statement. Love acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly. (Micah 6:8) Love is patient, kind, protective, honest, full of hope, and always perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor others, have a “me-first” attitude, is not easily angered, and does not keep record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Jesus loved the sinners and the saints; shared meals with both the despised and the embraced, and He shared much with the masses. He helped, He healed, He accepted, and He loved. What Jesus did, is what we are called to do. Our charge, as children of the Almighty God, is to LOVE. No matter who it is or what circumstances surround us, we must be kind and figure out how to love. Incredibly, when we ask and actually listen for answers, He will teach and equip us to love as He is calling us to love. Every act of kindness is an investment in others. As we sow love and kindness and generosity, God works in the hearts of those who receive. We are not called to preach at people, but rather we are called to love as Jesus loved. If we do so, according to His call, hearts can be changed and minds renewed. May we seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us each day, so that we may go forth and love one another according to His good and perfect will. 

We are not just called, 

To love those who love; 

But also, those who, 

Challenge us above. 

Jesus has shown us, 

To love enemies; 

For as we choose to, 

Both sides are set free. 

Set free from anger, 

From ugly dissent; 

For kindness disarms, 

Leads us to repent. 

Lord teach us to see, 

Others with Your love; 

To live as You lived, 

Give kindness above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip and empower every willing heart to love as You loved, as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that our words or deeds did not reflect a love like Yours. Teach us to love both friend and foe in the same way that You love each of us. Show us what it means to love like You, and how to be kind and loving, even to those who make it difficult. May hearts be changed and relationships mended, as we seek to love ALL, as You love us; and may many come into a lasting relationship with You, the One who loves forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us in Your love for others. Amen. 

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

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

Respond and Be Transformed

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV) 

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV) 

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT) 

We are called to listen and act upon the Word of God. He gives us instructions as to how to live our lives according to His will. What good does it do if we hear the words, yet choose to do nothing about it? The only way that we can truly become who we were created to be, is if we listen, learn, and act upon all that God is calling us to become. Our transformation is an ongoing process that comes through reading, hearing, and obeying that which is asked of us to love God and love people well. The more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to move forward in the goodness and grace that God has granted, so that we may live out our days as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, listening and acting upon what He calls us to do. Our salvation is not earned, but our transformation takes work and a heart willing to obey His word. 

Don’t merely listen, 

To God’s holy word; 

But choose to respond, 

To all that is heard. 

Through love and His grace, 

He opens our eyes; 

To the way to live, 

True love realized. 

For as we allow, 

All that the Lord says; 

To transform our hearts, 

The more we show His. 

Lord, help us listen, 

And respond in love; 

To all You’re asking, 

So we may become. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only listen to You and Your Word, but You ask us to respond and allow Your words to transform our hearts, minds and actions. Thank You that as we seek and respond to You, You change our hearts to reflect Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have listened and heard Your heart, but chose not to respond and act upon all that You were asking. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we do and say may shine Your light of love each day. Show us how to best love those around us in the ways You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen and act upon all You are asking, so that we do not deceive ourselves, but live in truth and light and love. Amen. 

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

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

Confidently Seek in Love

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

At first read, this can be a bit intimidating. Who am I to truly know God’s will? The more I read and ponder and pray, the more I recognize that if whatever I am asking God is aligned with loving Him and loving people, then my prayers will be heard. His will not always revealed to us, yet we do know that what He commands of us, desires of us, and has created us for – loving Him and loving those around us. It seems that the bottom line as we approach God for anything, is what is the condition of our heart? What I mean by that is what is our intention for what we are asking. Is it for the good our heart toward Him? Will it help or better the life of another? What I have learned is that God is gracious and kind and full of love, and He hears our heart cry as we come before Him with honesty and truth. He leads and guides in the ways we are meant to go, and blesses us with His peace. May we ever confidently seek the Lord in prayer, trusting that He hears and cares about what we ask as we pursue His best for every circumstance.

 

We can be certain,

The Lord hears our prayer;

Each time that we seek,

He listens with care.

With a heart for good,

Full of love and peace;

God shows us the way,

As grace is released.

So, choose seek the Lord,

Pray confidently;

With a heart of love,

God hears faithfully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what is good. Thank You that if our heart is for loving You and loving people, You hear our prayers with a heart of love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have sought You out of selfishness. Teach us to trust and follow You in all things. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love us so well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with a heart of love, ever pursuing Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

For You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

 

 

Live Out Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

Talk is cheap. The older I get, the more I know this to be true. Love is made evident through consistent actions over time, as the things we do demonstrate the truth of who we are. It is only after we see and know the truth of a person’s love through their actions, that we can begin to believe words that say the same. Everything we do – every deed and action, testifies the truth of who we are. What do we tell the world through the things we do? If our goal is love, then all that we do must be aligned with that in mind. No one is perfect and all fall short, yet if we invest in the One who is love, and pattern our lives according to His will, we cannot help but operate in the truth of His love as we navigate our days. May we ever seek the Lord and the depth of His love, so that we may go forth and love not merely with words, but with actions and in truth.

 

Lord, help us to love,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

As You call us to;

Not only with words,

But actions in truth.

For the deeds we do,

Speak louder than words;

Love is truly seen,

Not just idly heard.

Show us the way, Lord,

To love others best;

Let all that we do,

Help others feel blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us in Your word how to love people best. Thank You that You showed us first what it is to love in action and in truth, as You sent Your Son to love and restore relationships as He loved not just with words, but with everything He did. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and do the same as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted in love, or have spoken hollow words that were not backed up with acts of love. Teach us to love consistently and completely. Show us how to put love in action everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to live out love in the same way that You continuously love all of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Gifts in All

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV)

Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person. The Spirit gives this to each one to help others. – (1 Corinthian 12:7, ERV)

Each believer has received a gift that manifests the Spirit’s power and presence. That gift is given for the good of the whole community. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, VOICE)

 

Currently, my pastor is in the middle of a series called, Naturally Supernatural. In this, he is unpacking the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of the most important points that he has made have had to do with the purpose of these gifts. First, the kingdom of God is accessed through the Spirit of God. Without Him, we cannot grow in our understanding. The gifts of the Spirit are given by grace to serve the body of Christ. They are intended to build others up, and must be used to demonstrate a heart of love. When wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, discernment, miracles, prophecy, languages of men and angels, and the interpretation of such, are utilized as God intended, the movement of God’s power in love, clears the way and brings breakthrough so that His words may be heard and received by hearts moved by the power of God’s amazing love made tangible. Another important point that was made, is that these gifts are distributed by God in His grace, not somehow earned nor manifested in some sort of hierarchy. Each gift is for the purpose of encouraging and building up the body, and not for the elevation of the recipient. Whatever we receive is intended to be utilized to serve and honor God, thus is nothing from us nor in our own wisdom or strength. May we be open to the Lord and the gifts He has for us, and ready to love others well, as we share what we have been given.

 

God births in us all, Gifts in All

Gifts of His power;

To build others up,

In love, empower.

To nourish the growth,

Of faith, hope and love;

As God moves through us,

Power from above.

Wisdom and knowledge,

Faith, healing and more;

Miracles of God,

Grow faith all the more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts that You give to us to access, understand, serve and love more. Thank You that none are earned, but rather You freely give. Forgive us for neglecting to utilize what You give. Teach us to trust You more so that we would step out in faith and serve You by loving others well with all that You have placed in us. Show us how to love those around us, specifically and individually, so that they may understand Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love others with all that You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – Romans 12:6a

Faithfully and Unfailingly Forever

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 33:4-5, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. He loves goodness and justice. The Lord’s faithful love fills the earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, ERV)

For the word of the Eternal is perfect and true; His actions are always faithful and right. He loves virtue and equity; the Eternal’s love fills the whole earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, VOICE)

 

No matter what goes on around us, the truth of who God is, remains. God’s word is right and true, as it reveals the heart of God to us, and helps direct our steps in the ways that we are meant to go. Faithfulness is synonymous with God, as He will never leave us nor forsake us. He loves goodness and justice, and empowers those who seek Him to live accordingly. The Father’s love is everywhere, if we only slow down and open our eyes to see. May we ever be people who pursue the heart of God, so that we may display His goodness, faithfulness and love through our every word and deed.

 

The word of the Lord,The Lens of Love

Is perfect and true;

He’s always faithful,

As His love shines through.

Throughout the whole earth,

God’s love is made known;

As goodness and grace,

Are lovingly shown.

May we ever choose,

Invest in His word;

Invite God to move,

So His heart is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are truth and You are love. Thank You that You love righteous and justice, and that You are faithful in all that You do. Thank You that the evidence of Your unfailing love is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked any of these things that You are always willing to give, if only we choose to seek You. Teach us to trust and turn to You in all things and at all times, so that no matter what lies before us, love will direct our steps. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the truth of who You are and how You love faithfully and unfailingly, forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – Psalm 90:14

Poetry Lived Out

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. -Proverbs 1:5

 

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

Rooted in Discipleship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – (John 15:8, NIV)

Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father. – (John 15:8, ERV)

Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. – (John 15:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, our pastor continued in a series that is unpacking our foundational beliefs. The focus this week, was on discipleship. Pastor Omar opened with the question, “Is being a disciple of Jesus about what we do or who we are?” As he continued, it became clear that who we are as a disciple, permeates into everything we do. However, it is less about “what” we do specifically, and instead, whether or not we bear fruit; the fruit being that of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The fruit found in our lives, is what demonstrates discipleship to the world. He went on to talk about what it takes to actually bear fruit; for a seed planted will not grow if it is not set in good soil, nourished and cared for properly. Soil that is rich in what is right and intended for our good growth exists when we are planted in the Presence of God, the Word of God, and the Family of God. Each of these three are necessary to grow our faith and spur one another on into all that we have been called to become. May we ever be intentional to invest in the soil of our lives, so that we may be bearers of the fruit of God.

 

It is to God’s glory, Rooted in What is Real

When we bear much fruit;

It shares of His story,

His grace, resolute.

Choose to plant in good soil,

Enriched with the things;

That grow and establish,

Deep roots and strong wings.

Roots grown in God’s presence,

With time in His Word;

And wings to keep flying,

Surrounded and heard.

Our peace, patience, kindness,

And gentleness too;

Love and faithfulness,

Show growth that is true.

A life with self-control,

Too, tells the story;

Of a most faithful God,

And brings Him glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire for each of us to be Your disciples – not by what we do, but rather in who we are. Thank You that You show us what it is to grow and invest in good soil so that we may establish deep roots in You and bear much fruit. Forgive us for the times that our fruit has been bruised or rotten, as we allowed our own egos or agendas to get in the way of what You were doing in or through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are intentional to invest time in Your presence, Your Word, and in the community to which You have called us. Show us how to love well and bear fruit that lasts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to follow You as life-long learners. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Let Love Have a Voice

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV)

Words from the wise bring praise, but words from a fool bring destruction. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, ERV)

The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, MSG)

 

As today’s passage continues to point to the power that is packed in our words, again I am reminded of how much we need wisdom to guide each word that we make audible. Words spoken in wisdom are heard and received as a gift, yet those that are not, bring destruction to our reputation. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, so that we may have a filter that weeds out foolish thoughts before we speak them, and insight to communicate gracious words in love.

 

Lord help us to speak, Weighing the Why

Wise words, full of grace;

Spoken in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

Please seal our lips,

When foolish thoughts come;

Protect us, we pray,

So Your will be done.

Grow us in wisdom,

Let love have a voice;

Lead us in Your light,

So all may rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak in Your wisdom and truth. Thank You that as we do, Your love and light and life are shared with those around us. Forgive us for the times we have allowed the foolishness of our own selfishness to have a voice and wound those around us. Teach us to trust and rely on You to guard our hearts and help filter our words, so that what we say offers wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guard our hearts and guide our words, so that each word we speak is a reflection of You. Amen.

 

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

 

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11