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

Each A Part

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also in Christ. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, HCSB)

A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, ERV)

Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, VOICE)

People in a community are created with the same intention as the parts of the body. Each one of us has been created with a unique purpose, passions and strengths. When we come together, we can accomplish far more than we can on our own; we need each other to function in a way that is whole and complete. Though some strengths are seen and obvious, others are behind the scenes, each helps contribute to keeping the body running. When I consider the different communities to which I belong, this truth is evident. Since my current reality is school, it is an easy comparison to this passage. It takes every staff member to make each day run smoothly, and each of us contribute differently. Additionally, because we have different strengths, talents, personalities and the like, we are able to reach different kids. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to do our part and operate in the strengths He has given, and work together with those around us to contribute to the whole group, functioning as we were intended. 

We all are a part,

Of a greater whole;

Made to contribute,

To each fill a role.

Working together,

Our strengths are made known;

Each with a purpose,

Where goodness is shown.

Lead us together,

In kindness and grace;

To work together,

Build a safe, sweet space.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with purpose and strengths that make a community complete. Thank You that each person is needed to function as the group was intended. Forgive us for the times that we have stood back or stayed stuck when we were meant to press on. Teach us to trust You more so that we would work together in the communities to which we have been called. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the ways in which we all have been uniquely designed and how You place us together in communities. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep(ing) the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

– Ephesians 4:2-3

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

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

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Moms Model Love

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. – (Colossians 4:6, HCSB)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

This is the epitome of my mom and her mom before her; gracious, kind and wise. No human ever always has the right answer, but I think great moms come awfully close. These two women, as well as some incredible mother-like figures in my life, have modeled God’s love with the way that they speak with grace, kindness and love. It has never been unkind, but the truth is ever spoken in love. At times, the truth was to correct or redirect, but always with my best interest in mind. I am forever grateful for the gift of mothers in my life, and today, it seems only fitting to celebrate and honor them. May we ever give thanks to God for the gift of moms and mother-figures that He grants unto us, and seek Him to lead us in their likeness.

Let conversations,

Be filled with God’s grace;

Kind and with wisdom,

In every place.

For His love’s made known,

Through how we choose speak;

Actions and kindness,

Ever let us seek.

Seek to be loving,

Through every word;

Good spoken in love,

It’s how love is heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers and mother-figures who model Your love with words, actions and their very existence. Thank You for the blessings in my own life that have come through my mother, grandmother, youth leaders, church mommas, and incredibly wise and wonderful friends throughout the years. Forgive us for the times that we have not followed the example set before us and have spoken with a lack of love. Lead us to always speak with love, kindness and grace. May Your words lead the searching to see Your face and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You to ever lead us in Your love with every word we speak and all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Love in All

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, HCSB)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

We are called and commanded to love because God is love. Incredibly, we are created to love, and each of us give and receive love differently. No matter how we best express love, He sees and receives what we offer. If we were to love God with our whole heart and soul, every word we say, every decision we make, and every action we take would be unto Him. Learning to love God completely is a lifelong process. In the same way that we grow to love those around us more as we are intentional to spend time and invest in relationships, the same is true with God. The more we know Him, the more deeply we love Him and want Him to be a part of everything we say and do. May we continually pursue the Lord in love, so that we grow to love as we were created to love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all that we do;

May our hearts align,

So we honor You.

With all of our heart,

And all of our soul;

With all of our strength,

Lifelong love, the goal.

For how You love us,

Lead us to love too;

With all that we are,

Give praise unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that the more we get to know You, the greater our love grows for You and for all those You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for staying stagnant rather than continually seeking to grow. Teach us to lean into all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to learn to love You more in every area of our lives. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Give Us Grace

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, HCSB)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with the virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

Because we are His created, we are all dearly loved. We cannot be holy on our own, yet because of Jesus, He sees us as holy through the lens of His Son. As a result of God’s great love for us, we too ought to seek to love in the same way. To do so, we must be compassionate to others, show kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and patiently unoffendable. In order to live like this, we need to understand and know the depth and breadth of God’s love for us so that we may extend the same to those around us as it overflows. God knows our human limitations. He provides where we are lacking, and grants us wisdom and grace to keep pursuing to live life as He intended. May we all embrace the grace that lies before us in a welcomed long weekend, and may the Lord strengthen us and grant us the rest we need to continue to keep loving others as we are called to love.

O Lord, give us grace,

To love others well;

Compassionately,

May our kindness tell.

Tell of Your mercy,

Show people Your grace;

Be not offended,

Choose love anyway.

Seek understanding,

Be humble and kind;

Love one another,

With heart, soul and mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that we are created to love as You love. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, for surely we would fail miserably if that were so. Thank You that You supply the strength, grace, kindness and love that we need to live as Your beloved children. Forgive us for all of the times that we have moved in our own strength and fallen short. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and Your faithful love knows no end. Teach us to live and love as You do. Show us how to have heartfelt compassion that gives grace, mercy, kindness, gentleness, and patience that is not offendable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they come to understand the power of Your great love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to lead us to love well. Amen. 

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

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14

Value Each Other

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV)

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. 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 Clothe Ourselves Well

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

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

Now is an especially important time to clothe ourselves well. As the heat rises, people’s patience runs out and frustration and anger rises. If we are clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, we will be extending the same grace and mercy that God gives to us, to those around us. I don’t know about you, but whenever I am the recipient of compassion or kindness when my day is a bit off, my whole demeanor changes. I am reminded of the goodness of God and the beauty of all whom He has made. It restores a spring in my step and points my heart back to where true joy comes from. May we ever remember that we are chosen and loved by God, so we are to go out and love likewise.

May kindness rise up,

As in love we bask;

For God’s love equips,

To do as He asks.

We’re called to mercy,

Kindness, gentleness;

Have patience for all,

Through love is expressed.

May we let love lead,

As God loves us all;

Give as we’re given,

And answer His call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are loved and chosen by You to be called Your own. Thank You that as we embrace our status as Your children, whom You dearly love, we discover that we are equipped to love and give grace to all those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld kindness, run out of patience, or lacked compassion in spaces You called us to love. Teach us to depend on You to equip us to love as You love. Show us how to be patient, kind, gentle and gracious to all whom we encounter, so that they may gain glimpses of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to show us how to love like You. Amen.

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

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. – Galatians 3:26

Good Words and Hard Work

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, MSG)

Yesterday was one of those days that words spoken brought life, and the reward of hard work was evident. Students were engaged in conversations with enthusiasm for our end-of-the-year project, and my gymnasts had a fantastic practice. New skills were achieved and fears were overcome. As I was preparing for a meet up to run, my Viking sent me a text that he wanted to do a date night. By the time we had gone to dinner, run into and visited with friends, returned home and walked the dogs, my heart was overflowing with the good things spoken and the reward of hard work that had filled my day. Even on the days that things don’t flow as smoothly, or the work seems to be in vain, I can speak good things and remember that there are days that simply knowing the hard work is being done brings its own reward. God is good, and He encourages us to speak blessings and work hard, for through each we witness Him moving in us, through us and for us. May we ever seek the Lord to fuel our hearts with His words, and strengthen us to do the work that we have been called to do.

Our words and actions,

Have power to give;

Goodness and blessings,

As each day we live.

May we speak kindness,

Let our words bring life;

For encouragement,

Ends internal strife.

Teach us to invest,

To work unto You;

Give our very best,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of people You place around us who speak life and bring good things, and for the reward that is felt as we work as if unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have not spoken life to those around us, or have not worked with our heart invested in what we are doing. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our encouragement, for You speak life and love and strength to those who seek You. Show us how to speak good into those around us, and to work in a way that encourages others to invest as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our lips to speak life and our hearts to fully invest in all that we do. 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