Sacrificial Love

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, HCSB)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – (John 15:13, NIV)

There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. – (John 15:13, VOICE)

Today is a day that many of us are given off as a day to appreciate and celebrate the sacrifices that those who have served or are still serving have made to protect the freedoms that we all know and love. Each person who has served, has willingly given up the comforts and conveniences of home to go and serve to protect our country. Whether foreign or domestic, by land, air or sea, our service members have set their own lives aside to protect ours. This willing sacrifice to serve is a reflection of the love that Jesus has for us. May we take time to honor and appreciate these men and women who have served, and give God the glory for hearts that are willing to serve and protect us all.

No greater a love,

Than one that lays down;

Their own life for ours,

So peace may be found.

Safety, protection,

Willingly they’ve served;

Placed lives on the line,

A love undeserved.

May we choose give thanks,

Appreciate those;

For the sacrifice,

And freedoms we know.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to serve and protect the freedoms we know and appreciate. Thank You that their sacrifice reflects the sort of love that You have for us all, as You paid the ultimate price for our security forever in You. Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted. Teach us to honor and respect those who have given on our behalf, and give You praise for hearts that willingly serve. Show us how to love like You, so that we might truly reflect the goodness and depth of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice, and honor those who have sacrificed for the security of our nation. 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

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

To Love Each Other

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is My command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

No matter which translation of the Bible we read, the command remains the same; we are called to love each other in the same way that Christ loves us. Jesus loved perfectly, for there was no sin within Him. Though we are sinful and broken, we too, can learn to love like Him. Throughout scriptures, we are instructed as to what it means to love. Paul, in his letters to the Corinthians, explained what love is and what it is not. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) True love, the sort of love God intended, is patient, kind, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and does not give up. When we invest in our walk with Christ, He grows in us an ability to love like Him. Incredibly, we become more patient and kind. God strengthens us to continue to love, even when it is difficult, and shows us how to trust more. The more we love, the more we want to protect others as well. I know that none of this is common knowledge, but I think it is important to be reminded of what real love ought to look like, especially now that so many are reengaging in life after a long shutdown. May we ever seek the Lord, who in His very existence is love, to learn and grow in loving those around us as He intended.

For God so loved us,

That He sent His Son;

To show us true love,

That leaves sin undone.

All our misgivings,

Mistakes and wrong ways;

Are fully removed,

By mercy and grace.

God gives us patience,

Shows us to be kind;

To protect others,

And keep love in mind.

His perseverance,

Shows us what to do;

To trust and to hope,

To show His love true.

In everything,

May love be our choice;

One heart, one body,

One love and one voice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that calls each of us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as You intended. Teach us to invest our time in relationship with You so that You can show us more completely, what it is to love like You. Show us each day how we can extend love to those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love one another as we are all called to do. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a



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

As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Let Love Lead the Way

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

These were the words of Jesus to all who chose to follow Him. Christ’s command for us has remained the same throughout the ages. Most of the time, this is a reasonable rule to follow. However, what I am discovering in my current existence, is that I am far more sensitive to “waves”, and have little tolerance for that “one more thing”. My fuse is short, and I go from “fine” to wanting to throat punch people in a matter of mere moments. No, I would not actually follow through, but my frustration level ignites far too quickly, and anger seems to rise, where normally patience and problem-solving reside. I imagine much of it is this space of feeling so unsettled, as I am being pulled back and forth between mom in Wenatchee, and home with my husband and children. (Even more so, as my husband is away this week while I am home.) Yesterday, I had two separate incidents that ignited the fire within, that really should not have ruffled my feathers as much as they did. Thankfully, those around me were gracious, and my recovery was quick, yet it is unnerving to find myself so easily frustrated by things that normally would be easily navigated.

Mom continues to persevere and put in the work to pursue a full recovery. Yesterday she had occupational therapy and a visit from the nurse, as well as a wonderful visit from one of her dearest friends and her husband. Much laughter is shared between Meg and mom, and it is a joy to hear them giggle as we check in with one another on the phone. We are blessed that mom has always modeled how to love one another deeply, and it has been taken to heart. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, so that we may go forth in love, no matter what comes our way.

 

Called and commanded,

img_2019-06-19_06-05-218182746914808230960.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To go forth in love;

To love each other,

Like the Lord above.

Do so with a grace,

That wants nothing back;

Seeking to fill up,

Where there is a lack.

Love with a patience,

That passes on peace;

Fill one another,

Let kindness increase.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

Fill our hearts O God,

So love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us, but You command us to love. Thank You that You equip us for everything that You ask us to do. Thank You that You empower us to love, because You first loved us. Forgive us for our lack of love when things don’t go our way, or when our circumstances close in on us and begin to overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continuously place all things in Your loving and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that best communicates to their hearts, the depth and breadth of Your love for each of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your love so that we may generously and abundantly give Your love away. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Faithful to Love

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” – (John 15:9-10, NLT)

“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Now continue my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and He continues to love me. In the same way, if you obey my commands, I will continue to love you.” – (John 15:9-10, ERV)

 

As Jesus spoke to the people of Corinth, He was urging them to remain faithful, just as He had stayed faithful to His Heavenly Father. Obedience leads us to a space where we are right with God. He loves us because we are His, but the favor of the Lord is granted when we are walking in His will, rather than walking away from that which we are called. If God calls us to love Him and love people, it only makes sense that it is through our obedience that we would experience more of His love in our own lives. As we give love, we better understand and recognize what it is to receive love in return. May we love as we are loved in obedience to what the Lord is asking, and come to know and understand the riches of remaining in His love for us.

 

To love and be loved,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

 

Is God’s hope for us;

That is evident,

Through His Son, Jesus.

No matter what came,

To Him on His way;

He still chose to love,

In God’s will, remain.

So let us choose love,

As done unto us;

In obedience,

Love in faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to remain in Your love. Forgive us for not obeying Your command to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love one another according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love like You, so that all those around us might see Your faithfulness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You have loved us in obedience to Your commands. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Commanded to Love

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NLT)

 

We are not only called to love one another; it is a command. If love were merely a feeling, it would not be something required of us. However, love is a choice. No matter how we feel, we must intentionally choose to love, even when it is difficult – for this is what God declares His disciples (all who faithfully follow Him) are to do. There is no better time than now to choose to love those around us. We do not have to share the same opinions, thought patterns, philosophies, political views, or even the same faith, to choose to love one another. As opinions contrary to our own fly, let us love anyway. When tempers flare, may we return gentleness and kindness in love. May we rise up and remember who has commanded us to love one another, and go forth in faithful obedience.

 

As we all gather,Enter With Thanksgiving

Join with love in mind;

It is our own choice,

To love and be kind.

For God does command,

Love one another;

Without conditions,

Sisters and brothers.

We are His children,

Created indeed;

May we view others,

As loved who have needs.

Despite what we get,

Let’s love anyway;

When we love as Christ,

Our grace shows the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not merely command us to love each other, but You sent Your Son to show us how to love, and to make the way for us to do so. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we can go and choose to love those around us. Forgive us for not choosing love, based on feelings or on what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend love according to Your will. Help us to love those who are difficult to love, so that they may experience Your loving kindness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others because we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6