Live a Life of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love… – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, NIV) 

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, ERV) 

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. – (Ephesians 5:1-2a, MSG) 

Everything we do must be guided by love. We are dearly loved by God, therefore, we must follow His example and love others well. This is not a simple a pick and choose who to love, or when to love, but rather it is meant to be a life of love. All that we think, say and do must be steeped in love. What does that look like? Thankfully, He tells us exactly what it means to love.  

“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) 

May we seek the Lord to lead us and equip us so that we may be patient, kind, rejoicing in the truth, protective, trusting, hopeful, and always persevere. 

Because God is love, 

And we’re loved by Him; 

We likewise should love, 

Welcome people in. 

Into our circles, 

Where love’s always found; 

Grace freely offered, 

And goodness abounds. 

Treat one another, 

With value and grace; 

Choose love each other, 

And follow God’s ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us first, and continue to show us again and again, what it is to love. Forgive us for every word, thought, and deed that does not clearly reflect Your love. Teach us to lean into You so that we may reflect Your love to all those whom we encounter. Show us how to love each individual as You do, in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to follow Your example and live a life of love. Amen. 

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

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

Everything In Love

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV) 

Love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, MSG) 

Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TPT) 

This is critical for me to remember as I utilize my final day prior to the start of the new school year, to prepare for the week that lies ahead. When I keep the main things, the main things, my motivation for all that I do to prepare, is love. In the same way that my colleagues are kind with me as we navigate this year’s journey together, my desire is that EVERYTHING I say and do is motivated by love and kindness. Each lesson, activity and presentation need to be delivered with love and kindness. Our kids have not had a “normal” day of school since March 13th; nor have we. Routine will feel and look different than it ever has before, yet there will be full class periods with curriculum, lessons, assignments, and assessments that will be counted toward grades and advancement. The task and the challenge will be to connect with kids in such a way, that they feel safe, known, and ready to learn. My hope and prayer are that I will be able to connect and get to know each student as they enter my classroom (virtual as it is), so that I may discover how to best assist them in their learning and well-being. This is no small desire, yet if love and kindness are my motivation, the seemingly insurmountable, will be possible. May we ever seek the Lord to be our love and strength, so that we may navigate this year with love and kindness in all that we say and do. 

Let everything, 

That I say and do; 

Be done in Your love, 

So kindness shines through. 

Each word, thought and deed, 

Be wrapped in Your care; 

May I shine Your light, 

To the world, out there. 

Help everyone, 

To know love and grace; 

Through kindness given, 

Throughout ev’ry day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You give us love and kindness in abundance. Thank You that You call us to do the same for all those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our egos, frustrations or fears to dictate what we give to those around us. Teach us to lean into You in faith, as You grant us love and kindness for all. Show us how to do everything in love, so all may know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to do everything in love. Amen. 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

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

Align Our Hearts and Minds

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideas and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Just because something is popular or “trending”, does not mean it is right. Our charge is to seek God and allow Him to transform and renew our minds. God’s good, perfect and pleasing will revolves around loving Him and loving those around us. If what we do and say is not motivated by love, it is not what He intended. However, if the way that our mind is being transformed is to love more deeply and walk more justly, we are walking in His will. My hope is to live a beautiful life that is pleasing to God. It does not mean it will be an easy life, however, it will be one full of love. May we ever seek the Lord to transform us from the inside out, so that we will live the life that He intended. 

Do not live the life, 

Of somebody else; 

Each have a purpose, 

To live out ourselves. 

Give God full access, 

To change and renew; 

So we do His will, 

Unto Him, live true. 

May we be transformed, 

In heart and in mind; 

So we live a life, 

That’s loving and kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and trust our lives in Your hands, You transform and renew us to walk in Your good and pleasing will. Forgive us for the times that we have simply gone with what the majority think, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to seek, trust, and depend on You to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good, perfect and pleasing will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform and renew us to align our hearts and minds with Yours. Amen. 

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

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

Strengthened and Joined Together

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. – (Colossians 2:2, NIV) 

I want them to be strengthened and joined together with love and to have the full confidence that comes from understanding. I want them to know completely the secret truth that God has made known. That truth is Christ Himself. – (Colossians 2:2, ERV) 

I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together in love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery – Christ. – (Colossians 2:2, TPT) 

The more we are encouraged in heart and united in love, the better we understand the truth of who God is and how He loves, as we witness and experience the overwhelming love of Christ through those whom He has placed in our lives to love. Incredibly, if we love others as we are loved by God, they too begin to grasp how deep, how wide, and how long His love truly is. God is gracious and kind, and He encourages our hearts and unites us in love, by His goodness and grace. The more closely I walk with Christ, the more deeply I understand the fulness that is found in and through Him. He has given me grace after grace, as He has made His love tangible through those whom He has placed in my life. My hope and prayer is that I too, may encourage and help others know unity in His love, as His goodness and love is made known through how I live, love and interact with those around me. May we ever seek the Lord for understanding, so that our hearts are strengthened and joined together in love. 

Lord, may every heart, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Find comfort in You; 

As love wraps around, 

Shows Your heart of truth. 

For O the riches, 

Held in the Lord’s hands; 

Outstretched to us all, 

This love He has planned. 

May we join as one, 

One heart and one mind; 

Focused on loving, 

So Your joy we’ll find. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your intention for us is to encourage and love one another, in the same way that You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld encouragement or have not loved as You call us to love. Teach us to ever seek to know You more, as it is through our seeking that You show us more of You. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and love like You. Amen. 

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

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Wisdom from Above

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

 

If ever there was a season where Godly wisdom was needed, we are living in it right now. Yes, it is always needed, but it seems particularly important these days, as so many decisions that impact both the lives and the livelihood of our nation, are seemingly held in the hands of relatively few, that do not appear to be led by Godly wisdom. So, what can we do? Our charge is to seek the Lord so that we may walk in His wisdom. In every decision, we must seek to do what is pure, what is peace loving, what is gentle, that which is willing to yield to others, be full of mercy, sincere, and not show favoritism in our love. God loves the saints and the sinners equally. He showed mercy to those who sought Him, no matter where they had come from or what they had done. We need His wisdom to love purely, without prejudice (prejudgment) towards all with whom we interact. It takes little to observe Godly wisdom in action. Who are the ones who are kind to the essential workers, greeting them with care and thanking them for all that they do? There are so many unknown variables that are causing fear, it takes little effort to do the small things to lessen the burden for others – whether it is by wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, being extra aware of proximity to others, reaching out and checking in on those who live along – there are countless ways that we can exercise Godly wisdom, as we seek to learn and grow in His love and grace. We cannot control what is going on, but we can control how we respond to it. May we ever pursue Godly wisdom, so that we may love purely, be filled with peace, be considerate and teachable, full of love, and do away with prejudice and hypocrisy in any form. Let love lead us in all that we say and do, so that our very lives give glory to You.

 

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What I seek to find;

It’s pure, peace-loving,

Considerate, kind.

Gentle and willing,

With a helping hand;

Fending off judgment,

Love’s beautiful plan.

Full of God’s mercy,

Overflowing grace;

Blessings to pour out,

Accepting embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your wisdom all-knowing, perfect and full of mercy and grace. Thank You that You love us all the same; for we are each Your created. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or responded with love, grace, mercy, kindness, peace, or have lacked consideration or willingness to listen and learn. Forgive our prejudices and hypocrisy in any form. Teach us to seek You for Your wisdom, so that we may live and love according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us best. Lead us with Your wisdom, so that love is evident in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to walk in Your wisdom, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His. – Job 12:13

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

 

 

Remember the Wonders

Well, apparently today is not meant to look like any other day. I rose at the usual time. Spent time in the word. Prayed, pondered, and then wrote out my reflections on the passage and how it applied to my life. Rather than finish the process of editing, copying, pasting and editing again, prior to publishing, I simply saved my Word Document and determined to finish the process after my early morning exercise session. Sadly, when I returned, I opened my document, copied to paste, then shifted applications to continue, I discovered, much to my dismay, what pasted was a bunch of coded garbled gunk, that in no way resembled what I had written. I deleted that, went back to my Word Document, and umm… it was blank. Everything I attempted was fruitless. After fifteen plus minutes of doing all that I knew to do, I gave up. My writing was gone.

There is always a lesson in the lesson, so here I sit, open to discover why. The gist of what I wrote about was my reflection on the following verse:

He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – (Psalm 111:4, NIV)

Today, exactly one year ago, my sister and I received the news that rocked our world in a way that we had never anticipated. Our strong, healthy, independent mom, had suffered a massive stroke. What made matters worse, is that we had not been able to reach her for a few days. The news that was a dread to us, was simultaneously the most welcome sight in the world to our mom. What I mean is, mom lived alone and was alone. She suffered the stroke and was left isolated and half-paralyzed, as she drifted in and out of consciousness for a couple of days, with her voice too weak to be audible beyond a few feet away. Our well-check request of the local police, resulted in her receiving medical attention hours sooner than if we had waited to drive there to find out for ourselves.

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This photo is from the last time all of us were able to get together. Mom is even stronger now than she was then!

So, where I am I going with the connection to wonders and grace and compassion? Honestly, in spite of everything, God was incredibly faithful and kind, as He provided the right people, places, resources, and time to allow the best possible road for mom’s recovery to be set in place. His grace and compassion have been made new every morning, and I remain in a space of awe at the determination and resilience that He has supernaturally given our mom. She went from barely speaking above a whisper, while struggling to find words, to now speaking and carrying on conversations in a normal voice. Additionally, when she was first in the hospital, we were excited about small muscle twitches in her right side, particularly in her right leg. Now, a year later, she is walking independently with a cane, and continues to work on rebuilding her strength and stamina to increase her speed and the steadiness of her gait. Every step of the journey, God was gracious and compassionate. We have grown even closer as an extended family, and will be having some serious gatherings when these restrictions are finally lifted. In the meantime, there are many phone calls made and photos shared, as we continue to work together to move forward on this healing journey. May we each take time to remember in wonder the incredible ways that God has been gracious and compassionate to us, even in our most trying of times.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through every season in our lives we have reason to look back in awe and wonder, for You have always been gracious and compassionate to us. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations, and our “if onlys”, for You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You are not finished yet! Teach us to trust You more, so that we can go forth and love those around us with the same compassion and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in wonder for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Discipline Brings Delight

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. – (Proverbs 29:17, NIV)

Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did – they’ll turn out delightful to live with. – (Proverbs 29:17, MSG)

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make our heart glad. – (Proverbs 29:17, NLT)

 

Discipline is such an interesting word, as it can carry such a vast array of experiences for people. For some, discipline equals correction and redirection done in love, much the way God intended, yet for others, that is not at all the case. For me, as a parent, it has been a necessity to correct and redirect to lead my boys in the direction that they are meant to go, in love with much patience. Now that they are eighteen, they do indeed (and always have) bring me delight and make my heart glad. It is an interesting road to navigate with discipline for a young puppy. We are in uncharted territory, and learning as we go. Puppy teeth are sharp, and the desire to chew is strong within them. This morning brought demand for creative “discipline”, as my feet and clothing cannot withstand the ongoing puppy attacks. After countless firm “No” responses, physical removal from the space by my feet, and then offering things that are appropriate to chew any time he comes near my toes, I had to figure something out. I went to the kitchen, grabbed the cayenne pepper, and sprinkled some on the top of each sock and rubbed it in. Innocently, I went and sat down. As expected, Thor pounced at my feet. He paused, sniffed, licked a sock and the zoomed around the room, not quite sure what to do with himself. Needless to say, he hasn’t come after my feet again since. He also settled back down and was able to lay beside me so that I could focus and do this. 😊 For the preservation of both my feet and my clothing, discipline is required. Thor is a delight already in how much he loves people, and being trained will bring a lifetime of gladness and peace of mind. I wonder if that is how God sees us? In the same way we take delight in our children (or fur babies) following the direction that we have given, I imagine He too, delights in our obedience to His leading. May we seek the Lord with open hearts, ready to hear and obey, so that we may bring delight as we walk in His way.

 

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To guide well in love;

Correct, redirect,

Like God up above.

Let love lead the way,

As we teach with grace;

What is right and good,

For those that we raise.

Help us also heed,

What You’re teaching us;

So that You delight,

As we choose kindness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You ask us to lead in love in the same way that You lead us. Thank You that You correct, redirect, and show us what is good and what You have for us, any time we are willing to seek You and listen. Forgive us for the times that we have either ignored or resented Your discipline. Teach us to trust You more, as You correct and redirect so that we can be the very best version of ourselves. Show us how to discipline well, all those whom we are called to lead in love. May many come into lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we heed Your discipline for us and seek to discipline in love, those whom You have given us charge over. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is kind to His followers as a father is to his children. – Psalm 103:13