Refuge, Strength and Help

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God, You’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You. – (Psalm 46:1, TPT)

 

I try not to catch too much of the news, as more than one update per day does nothing but cause anxiety in anyone. Yes, it is wise to be aware and recognize the reality of the situation and risk that we all are living in, but bombarding ourselves with a constant barrage of numbers and images only instills fear. If we are staying at home as ordered, we ought to be okay. God is our protection and source of strength; ready to help us in times like these. If peace is lacking; He is peace. If all seems chaotic and out of control; Christ brings calm and order. When our strength is sapped, His is steadfast. It is a matter of choice as to where we turn in times of trial. As we turn to God, we find safety, strength and help; whereas when we rely on our own devices, we end up fearful, stressed out and anxious about everything. May we turn to God, who is our refuge, strength and help, as He brings peace in the places within us that need it most.

For me, what seemed like a random impulse purchase on Amazon, actually turned out to likely be some listening to the still small voice within. I struggle staying put, especially when I feel like I have to stay seated and stuck in one area for any length of time. After the addition of a long string of color-changing LED lights around the perimeter of the room where I need to spend my days during the week for work, it suddenly is a calmer, more welcome space, that I find easier to be in. More of a refuge and less of a space that I’m stuck. God cares about the little things, and it is amazing what a tremendous difference the little things make in the overall scheme of an entire day. God is good, and He provides as we abide; may we ever choose seek Him for refuge, help and strength.

 

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In whom I abide;

He is my safe space,

Where true peace resides.

The Lord is my strength,

And help as I seek;

Ever He’s faithful,

Provider of peace.

When there is chaos,

His love brings the calm;

Unending mercy,

Our true healing balm.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You and You answer. Thank You that You are our refuge, strength and help whenever we call on Your Name. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Forgive us for our anxiousness when chaos and uncertainty surround us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the anchor in our storms and the peace when there is chaos within. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer refuge, strength and help so that they too, may find comfort and peace in these times of such uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our refuge, strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Be Fruitful in Love

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, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

 

The thing about fruit is that it does not just magically appear. It goes through a process of being planted, cultivated and cared for; watered and nourished, and then over time, fruit begins to spring forth in season. We are no different. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control do not just naturally flow out of a person. For some, it is what they have always been given, so they too, long to do likewise. However, what cultivates this sort of fruit and keeps it sustainable is an ongoing relationship with Christ. He fills us with His love and grants us all of these things in abundance, so that the various attributes of His Spirit may be fruitful in our lives. No matter what restrictions or recommendations are made in the coming days, nothing will stand in the way of choosing to operate in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In fact, we would all be better off if more people sought to be fruitful in these ways. May we seek to be deeply planted in the truth of God’s word, nourished in His goodness and grace, and watered by the blessings of His Spirit to grow good fruit to share with the world.

 

The fruit that will last, Be Fruitful in Love

Love in divine form;

Peace, patience, kindness,

Strength that will transform.

Gentleness of heart, 

And faith that prevails;

Joy overflowing,

God’s love never fails.

Be rooted in Christ,

Seek Him to grow well;

For a life fruitful,

His goodness will tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You to nourish and grow us in You, You produce fruit in our lives that bless those around us. Thank You that You have shown us how sweet the fruit of Your Spirit is in those around us who love You well. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us in Your love. Teach us to trust You more, as Your fruit is what blesses and nourishes all. Show us how to love others with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, in the same way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the amazing love that You give to us, and the strength You supply each of us to love in the very same way. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

Our Oasis

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

And there is a resounding “yes”, followed by a heavy sigh and a bit of coughing. Weary indeed… The heavy burdens I continually attempt to lay down, yet somehow, I seem to find new weights that have managed to be slung on my shoulders. Each morning, I rise with intention, to seek the Lord and give all to Him. He promises to give rest and refreshment, and an oasis sounds blissful about now. This is where trust must enter in.  At times, the provision is the supplication of what we need for the day to make it through. There are other times, when we find ourselves smack dab in the center of an oasis, after what has felt like an eternity in the desert. God knows what we need and when we need it most. He provides and sustains, refreshes and grants rest. Today, I am trusting Him for what I need to navigate this day, and looking forward to some much-needed rest, that is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord when we are weary and heavy burdened, for He will walk beside us and grant us rest.

 

Jesus tells us, “Come”,Our Oasis

Bring burdens to Me;

Lay heaviness down,

Set all at His feet.

For He is our Source,

Strength, hope, life and light;

Who grants us the rest,

To stay in the fight.

His hands can hold us,

When our strength is gone;

He’s our oasis,

His love makes us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Thank You that You call us to bring our burdens to You; for You are willing and able to carry the load that we were never meant to bear. Thank You that You provide rest and refreshment when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for growing weary in our resolve to keep seeking Your help when all is heavy. Teach us how to lay down the burdens that we are not even aware we are shouldering. Show us how to come alongside those around us, to love, encourage and lift up, so that they may know Your refreshment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and lay our burdens before You, seeking You for real rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

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

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

Love Each Other

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

Delightfully loved ones, if He loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes His permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in Him, and His love is brought to its full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, TPT)

 

Because we are loved, we too, are called to love one another. Though no one has seen God face-to-face, each time we are met with His love through others, we catch glimpses of His heart for us. God calls us to love one another so that His love may be made known to those around us. When we choose to love, we are allowing God’s love to be made complete in us and through us, exactly as He intended. May we love others as we are loved by God, and allow His love to be brought to its full expression in us.

As for Mom, I know she is feeling His love for her as well. The other day when I called, she was surrounded by some of her dearest friends, who were over for a visit. June, her bestie, sent a text to my sister and me, and it included the photo I am including. The sheer joy on Mom’s face makes the love that she is receiving, evident. Yes, there will be adjusting to a new space and new schedule, but the beauty of being back in her own community far outweighs any challenge presented by the new.

 

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By the Lord on high;

Just as He loves us,

We too, must supply.

Supply well His grace,

As we choose to love;

Let Him work through us,

In Him, there’s enough.

Enough to reach out,

And love anyway;

To help, extend hope,

Show His heart each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You supply us with all that we need to love as You love us. Thank You that You call and equip us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be led in all things and at all times by Your unfailing love. Show us how to love those around us in every situation and circumstance, according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You have to offer so that we can go forth and love like You. 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

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.

 

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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

Love Reaches Out

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NIV)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be a pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Love is sacrificial and does not love because it receives. Love chooses to give because it is the right thing to do. God has shown us what it is to love, as He loved us while we were far from loving Him. His love covers us and changes our hearts, leading us to Him who is love, so that we too, might love one another. To love is a daily decision to choose, not an emotion based on how we feel. Extending God’s heart to the world is our opportunity and call to love as we are commanded to do. This is a far easier charge with those who love us back. However, we are still called to love those who do not. It does not mean we are to be unwise and take abuse or allow boundaries to be violated, but it does mean that we must continue to extend kindness and grace, even to those who do not seem to understand either in return. We never know the impact that our choice to love will have, yet we do know that each decision to love plants a seed that another can water, and still another can sow. God knows, and this is why He calls us to keep loving as He loves us. May we go forth and choose to love, just as God first loved us.

 

After eluding to the pending change, today is the official day that Mom will be moving into her new place, back in Wenatchee. She still has her home, but for now, will be in a smaller, more manageable space where help is available as needed, while she continues to rebuild and gain strength. Already, there have been joyful celebrations, as Megan and Scott made the journey with her back to Wenatchee from Albany, Oregon, and have spent time since Thursday afternoon in Mom’s home. What a difference for Mom to be back in her home and able to walk around freely with her cane, rather than using a walker with someone following closely behind to be sure she was steady on her feet. Mom’s joy has returned, as it was apparent that she desperately needed to be back home, in her own community. Mark and I are very much looking forward to driving over tomorrow to spend the day with her and check out her new place, and take her wherever her heart desires to go. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the sacrificial love that my sister and her family have made over the last six months, as they opened their home and hearts to walk with mom through the most recent leg of her healing journey. We all are excited to see the progress she will make now, as she reenters life back in her own community. Mom loved the support of family that she has had since her stroke, but we all knew that she was at a point where she needed to be reengaged with the community she loves and has invested so deeply in. May love be what leads every person who interacts with Mom as she continues to move forward on this healing journey.

 

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It reaches out first;

Gives kindness always,

In best and in worst.

For just as God loves,

And shows love to us;

We must also love,

Choose extend kindness.

True love gives the best,

Prefers each other;

No matter what comes,

Love one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us and made the way for us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You are love. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the love that we are called to give. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would love big, even when what comes back to us is less than loving. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

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

So Loved

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NIV)

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

God so loved that He gave. He gave all so that we might come to know His love that leads to life everlasting with Him. The very same God who loves us to life, calls us to love each other. His example demonstrates what love truly is. Love gives the best of oneself to others, so that they too, may know and understand the vast depth and breadth of the love that God lavishes upon all who trust in Him. Incredibly, God did not so love the saints, or those who were somehow sinless, (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) but He so loved the world – all of us, all people, for all time – that He gave. There were no qualifiers nor prerequisites, God simply loved His created. In the same way, we are called to love those around us. Not just our friends and family, but all – for all are His created. May we receive and embrace the overwhelming and powerful love that God gives to us, and in turn, go forth and love those around us, so that all may experience the power of His love, personally.

 

Despite how things seem, Measured By Our Maker

One thing shall remain;

The love of the Lord,

Is always the same.

His love chose to give,

Not some, but gave all;

So we might have life,

And answer His call.

God’s love grants us grace,

Brings new life and light;

Hope from the despair,

Beauty and delight.

So, seek first the Lord,

Receive all He gives;

Then go forth, love well,

It is how love lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son to bring us the opportunity to have everlasting life with You. Thank You that when we accept what You offer, we gain grace and forgiveness and love overflowing to go forth and love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, despite the incredible, unending love that You have for us. Teach us to love those around us as we are loved by You. Show us practical and tangible ways to be Your hands, heart and voice in love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible love You have for us, and rely on You to help us love others well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1