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

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

Courage for the Calling

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, HCSB)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

God did not mean that fear never comes our way, but rather that when He calls us to things that seem beyond our own abilities, He will be with us and we need not fear. Yesterday, I lost my planning period because a teacher was absent and no substitute had accepted the job. When I found out I had to cover that particular class, my heart was filled with dread. The last time I covered that class, it was a nightmare. This time, as I walked in, I discovered that the majority of the students are either in my second semester art classes or are gymnasts. Suddenly, what I had feared was far from reality. I knew the majority of students by name, and their response to me was kind and pleasant. Because I knew them and they knew me, the interactions were entirely different. The path had been prepared for me. For some, it might be a little thing, but for me, it was a reminder that God has me. May we ever trust in Him and seek the Lord for all that we need, for we need not fear, as He will be with us, always.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

He grants us His strength,

To overcome fear.

Despite what we think,

God will make a way;

For us to press on,

Embrace each new day.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and grace;

To navigate well,

All that comes our way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our need and You strengthen and equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You care about the little things too. Forgive us for our fear or dread when we walk into what we think we know. Teach us to trust You, for You can do wondrous things that we would never anticipate. Show us how to love all those around us well, so that they too, might be strengthened and encouraged in all that they do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and know that You are greater than all that we face. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

All Made Possible

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

No matter how difficult things may appear in the natural, there is no obstacle too great or any situation that is impossible for God. The very same God who created all that is seen, (and unseen) is capable of helping us in and through all things. There are days when a task before me seems impossible, yet in His strength, things beyond me are completed. He gives strength when we are weary, hope in the midst of despair, joy when laughter feels far from us, and peace that surpasses all understanding. Additionally, He cares about the little things too. I am ever in awe of the strength I find to push up another hill, step into more new, and rest in His presence in spaces of uncertainty. May we ever remember the power found in the Lord, and call on Him to be our help, hope and strength in all things.

The Almighty God,

Photo by kinkate on Pexels.com

Creator of all;

Can do anything,

As to Him we call.

The impossible,

Is not so for Him;

Whatever He says,

Will be ushered in.

The God that we serve,

Is always enough;

He loves us through all,

And makes smooth the rough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You meet us where we are and strengthen us to press forward to all that is yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem impossible through our own eyes. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are ever-present to be our help, strength and hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, in the same way that You strengthen and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for all that You make possible in You. Amen. 

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

For no word from God will ever fail. – Luke 1:37

Counsel In All Things

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – (Psalm 32:8, NIV) 

The Lord says, “I will teach you and guide you in the way you should live. I will watch over you and be your guide.” – (Psalm 32:8, ERV) 

I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there; I will give you good counsel, and will watch over you. – (Psalm 32:8, VOICE) 

God is faithful to instruct and teach us, and to show us which way is best for our lives. When we are invested in Him – learning and growing, seeking and knowing – He leads us and guides us in the ways in which we are to go. Sometimes, even when things seem to be what we are hoping for, He steers us away, and we later come to understand why. We are walking through a season of this right now. A direction I thought I was to go, is not; and my love is being led into a possible new. I trust and know He has our very best in mind, so we are following in the directions as He shows us the way. God cares about the little things and the big things. As we learn to trust Him in the small things, we recognize that He is trustworthy for the bigger things. May we ever seek the Lord to teach us and show us the ways that are best, for He is our wise counsel and will watch over us. 

God’s ever faithful, 

To show us the way; 

He directs, instructs, 

All night and all day. 

We need only ask, 

Choose listen and learn; 

He’s faithful and near, 

His grace is not earned. 

Love that’s unending, 

Counsel and His peace; 

Direction to trust, 

Presence that won’t cease. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, love, guidance and protection. Thank You that we can always come to You and trust. Forgive us for going our own way, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to turn to You and ask You to lead and show us the way. Show us how to love and support those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust Your counsel for all things – great and small. Amen. 

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

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

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Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. 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

Abundant Grace

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, NIV)

But our Lord gave me a full measure of His grace. And with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, ERV)

I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks, until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One! – (1 Timothy 1:14, TPT)

 

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. Daily, as we journey on this road to recovery with mom, we are acutely aware of God’s grace. His love abounds in the little things all around us every day, we simply need slow down, and watch for them. Yesterday, being a Sunday, was a day of rest for mom in her stroke rehabilitation program. It was odd to not have any therapy sessions scheduled, and the day was probably extra off, being Mother’s Day. At first, mom was quite annoyed that she was not actively working toward recovery yesterday, but when I reminded her that even God, Himself, rested on the seventh day, she agreed it might be okay if she too, had a day of rest. The day began with Mark, the boys and me all arriving together to visit with mom before the fellas had to head back home. There were many smiles and some animated banter, and before we knew it, it was time for the guys to get going. Mom and I visited and made a few phone calls together, then after another art project to add to her ceiling collection and lunch, we relaxed and watched a movie. Of course, after sitting for the length of an entire film, we both had grown restless, and were ready to head outdoors. Sun hats and sunglasses on, I quickly pushed her out of her wing, and we were riding the elevator to freedom. There was a warm wind blowing steadily as we made our way out, and we began with a lap around the building. After that, per her request, we moved east, and were both drawn in the direction of some beautifully blooming rhododendrons. We decided we ought to take a quick photo or two for posterity, and for my sister before heading back. My hat was blown off once on the return route, so we both ditched our hats and stashed them in her “magical” chair bag, as we did not want them to land in the street swept muck on the side of the road. Upon our return, I worked with mom on a few of her stretching things for PT, and she was very encouraged to use her right leg to practice pushing off from the hip. I love watching her face light up in recognition that she is indeed moving herself with that leg that she thought was done. Grace after grace. God is so good. May we ever be aware of the goodness and grace poured upon us, though we deserve it not, and give praise to Him to is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

 

Grace is the Lord’s gift, img_2019-05-13_06-14-17471261504932170441.jpg

He gives unto us;

Though it’s not deserved,

He gives in excess.

Such love in all things,

Both great and the small;

All matter to Him,

He knows and sees all.

Every moment,

Each breath that we take;

The Lord is aware,

And He won’t forsake.

He is the anchor,

Our safe hiding place;

Love overwhelming,

Extravagant grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us beyond what we can even begin to fathom. Thank You that Your grace is granted in all things, great and small. Thank You for Your goodness that makes Your love tangible in everyday little things so often. Forgive us for being blind to Your blessings. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand how deep and how wide Your grace runs for us. Teach us to trust You more, as our human hearts grow weary and fearful when we cannot see or understand the road ahead. Show us how to love those around us in great and small ways, so that they too, may recognize glimpses of the grace that You have for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our faith and give You praise for the overwhelming grace that You give us each and every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Infinite Faithfulness

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic.  – (Psalm 36:5, MSG)

But You, O Lord, Your mercy-seat love is limitless, reaching higher than the highest heavens. Your great faithfulness is infinite, stretching over the whole earth. – (Psalm 36:5, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a remarkable reminder of the love and faithfulness of God. Though I truly enjoy student-led conferences, I went into yesterday’s marathon with a bit of uncertainty, as my schedule was from 6 am to 7 pm, and I had woken up feeling weary before I had even begun. As always, I prayed on my way into work. My first conference did not show up. I focused on catching up on some grading, and made the most of the time I had not anticipated. Throughout the day, I had wonderful check-ins with colleagues, students and their parents. By day’s end, all of the scheduled conferences had either been completed or rescheduled, and great conversations had transpired. The Lord was faithful to supply all that I needed and more to complete the day, not just getting through it, but actually enjoying my time, with strength, endurance and energy, as I was provided wonderful opportunities to speak not only with my students and their parents/guardians, but with my colleagues as well. Though I feel I bit weary again this morning, I am looking forward to the day with hopeful anticipation, as I know that He will be faithful to provide all that is needed to successfully navigate this day. May we ever turn in trust to the Lord, as He is forever faithful to be present and prepared to meet our needs as they arise.

 

The Lord is faithful, Healed Hands Reach Out

In all that we do;

His presence, promised,

And love proven true.

Though days may be long,

And energy short;

His grace is enough,

His strength shall support.

Support where we lack,

Filled with strength and grace;

Faithful forever,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever, and that You care about the little things in our lives. Thank You for Your blessings of peace, strength and endurance on our longest days. Forgive us for wanting to fold in our feelings of weariness. Teach us to continue to trust in Your unending faithfulness, as You are our Source and Supply that sustains. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength, hope and grace, to help each understand You are faithful always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever, and press on in Your strength. Amen.

 

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

 

But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.  – Psalm 86:15

 

Rejoicing Over Rest

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will rest secure. – (Psalm 16:9, NIV)

I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. – (Psalm 16:9, MSG)

This is a good life – my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more? – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

As I woke with my mind leaning toward rest, with a bonus hour and a half of sleep this morning, I determined to see where I was to go with the thought. Yesterday was an extended day, with the intention of making student-led conferences possible for all families. Though a long day, it was good, and the reward that follows is a short day today, and a three-day weekend, providing plenty of opportunity for real rest. The sort of rest that refreshes my soul may not sound restful, but long runs with my best running buddy, time celebrating my best friend’s birthday, loads of family time, and time with my church family, are all blessings that await me this weekend and make my heart glad. Knowing that rest is coming provides room to remember all of the reasons that I am grateful for the good that God has granted. May we take time to find joy in the little things, the sweet blessings He bestows upon us through the people He has placed in our lives.

 

My heart will find joy,img_2018-11-09_06-09-462423785359695814316.jpg

And my body rest;

Who could ask for more,

As my life is blessed.

Blessed well with people,

To walk along side;

Who listen and love,

In whom I confide.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

Who grants us each rest,

The good things we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your rest that restores our joy and reminds us of what matters most. Forgive us for not seeking You when we are weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need and are the joy within us, no matter what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and provides rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for providing the rest we need when we need it most. 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

Love is an Active Choice

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)

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, TLB)

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)

 

God’s words to us explain what it truly is to love. Love does not merely speak the words, but it is an ongoing demonstration of actions that support the things we say. Tomorrow, I will have the tremendous joy of joining together in holy matrimony with the one who has shown me love in action, day in and day out, in a way that my heart never knew possible. He demonstrates love from the time I wake to a text each morning, greeting me with words that blanket my heart with blessings, to all of the countless thoughtful little things that show me again and again, he loves me and chooses me as his actions demonstrate what love looks like in a life of choosing to love as we are loved by God. Love truly is a choice, and it requires that we align our deeds with the words that we choose to speak. Though not one of us could do this on our own all the time, with God, we are loved in a way that the overflow shapes the things that we do to reflect His heart for one another. May we all seek the Lord daily, so that we may love in action and truth, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love is so much more,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Than mere words spoken;

For true love lifts up,

It heals what’s broken.

In every act,

In all that we do;

When fueled by love,

God’s kindness shines through.

True love will align,

All that’s said and done;

For love always protects,

As trustworthy one.

True love perseveres,

For it is a choice;

To match word and deed,

One heart and one voice.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of love that we are given through those whom You have placed in our lives to show us Your love through actions over and over again. Thank You for the love that You have given me in the one to whom I will soon wed. Thank You that as I am loved well by him, I come to understand more deeply, the love that You have for us all. Forgive us for doubting the sincerity of love that is demonstrated consistently in our lives and for the times that we do not allow Your heart to lead in the words that we speak and actions that we opt to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your loving way each day and be known as people who live lives of love. Show us how to love those around us with our every deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as we are so lavishly loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7