Live Out Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – (1 John 4:16, NIV)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

Once a person truly experiences the love that God has for us, there is an innate desire to know and understand more. The more we seek, the more we find. As we do, we learn to live in God’s love as He dwells in us, and cannot help but live out the same love that we have been given. The challenge is that we must trust Him to truly love like Him. When we doubt His love or lack trust, we are inhibited in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His great love, and choose to trust and live in the love that He so lavishly provides.

To know the Lord’s love,

Our greatest blessing;

Faithful and lavish,

Worth seeking, pressing.

For each time we seek,

God’s love shall be found;

Grace unimagined,

And hope that is sound.

May we choose pursue,

The love that He gives;

So we love likewise,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to know and rely on Your love, we are equipped and empowered to love likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have not pursued or have lacked Your love for others. Teach us to trust and rely on You so that we may love one another like You. Show us how to love everyone whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and receive the love You have for us so that we too, may love well. Amen.

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

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – Psalm 107:8

Trust in Trials and Triumphs

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

Still, I know that God lives – the One who gives me back my life – and eventually He’ll take His stand on earth. – (Job 19:25, MSG)

Job, after he had lost everything, still stood on the truth that he knew. In his heartache and anguish, he cried out to God and proclaimed the truth before his friends who had stopped supporting him and begun blaming him for his own misery. God, in His goodness and mercy, restored Job’s health and wealth to more than it was before, and honored his faithfulness, despite all that Job had suffered. God has good things in store for us, despite the trials and heartaches we have to endure. His goodness stands forever, and His promises are eternal. It is our eternity that provides hope, even on the darkest days. No matter what comes, God is still good and is still on the throne. May we ever remember that our Redeemer lives and in the end, He is our hope forever as Lord and King of all.

The Lord is alive,

Our hope and our peace;

No matter what comes,

His love will not cease.

Though days might seem dark,

The true light will come;

He brings grace and peace,

For all is not done.

Look to the heavens,

The Lord ever reigns;

Our hope forever,

And goodness He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and for the examples who have gone before us. Thank You that despite the difficulties that happen, You still reign and have power to restore. Forgive us for our wavering faith when challenges overwhelm us. Teach us to turn in trust to You, ever holding fast to the truth that we know. Thank You that You are our hope and promise forever. Show us how to walk alongside those in the midst of struggle, so that we might love, encourage and bless as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in every season – both trying and triumphant, for You love and lead us through all. Amen.

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

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

What is Really Wanted

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, NIV)

Now, Israelites, listen! What does the Lord your God really want from you? The Lord your God wants you to respect Him and do what He says. He wants you to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, ERV)

So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in His presence in holy reverence, follow the road He sets out for you, love Him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, MSG)

Though these were things asked of Israel as they were in the desert, preparing to move toward the promised land, these are still the same things that God asks of us today. To love and respect the Lord and to serve Him, is the gist of what Jesus told us the commands of God meant. We are called to love God and love people. If we truly love, we will respect, honor, and serve with all that we are. This applies to every aspect of our lives. To love God means to love His creation as well. Everyone we see, and all those whom we encounter, are created and loved by God. As we love God wholeheartedly and seek to do His will, He grows in us the desire to love others as He loves us. May we ever pursue the Lord and His path for our lives, so that we learn to love Him and all people as He intended.

Long gone are the days,

Of Levitical law;

Instead we’re to love,

And of God, stand in awe.

For God has made us,

To give and receive love;

And walk in His ways,

Choose seek the Lord above.

For the more we seek,

We forever shall find;

The ways we’re to walk,

And the grace to be kind.

Lord, help us rise up,

To love all others well;

You are the reason,

That in love we may dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan and purpose for us has always been to be in a loving relationship with You and all those around us. Thank You that You show us and lead us in the love we are meant to give. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and deeds have not aligned with loving You and loving those whom You have placed on our path. Teach us to love, honor and serve You with our whole heart, so that we may grow in love and grace to love well, all those around us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our heart, soul, and mind into loving You and all those whom we meet. Amen.

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

Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31

Higher Than Ours

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:7-8, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that this is true. So often, I think things should go one way, or situations ought to be resolved as I imagine, yet God, in His infinite wisdom, brings far more beauty than I could have ever imagined. This is where we are challenged to trust the process. It is a bit easier to do each time we witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. That being said, it is a seemingly lifelong process to recognize and remember that God’s ways are for our ultimate best, even when we cannot see how good is possible. May we ever remember that God knows the outcome long before we have even begun, and that He is for us, not against us. 

Our thoughts and our ways,

May be good and bold;

Yet God’s are greater,

Our future He holds.

When we cannot see,

How things could resolve;

God is on the move,

So fears ought dissolve.

Let us turn in trust,

To the Lord above;

For His ways are best,

All is done in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, higher than ours. Thank You that You see the end before we have even begun, and You are ever available to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. Teach us to trust the process and to remember that You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Lead us to love one another in ways that strengthen, encourage and convey Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your ways, for they are always best in the end. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5

Let Us Consider

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV) 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV) 

Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. – (Hebrews 10:24, TPT) 

When I read this passage, what kept coming to mind is knowing the love language of those around us, so that we may offer encouragement and express love in the way that they receive it best. For example, I am all about quality time. When others are intentional to give me their time and attention, especially to go and do things together, my heart is filled and encouraged, and I feel known. However, my husband is an acts of service guy. He notices and values every effort to do things that speak love through action. The better we know those around us, the more equipped we are to love and serve one another in the way that expresses love best. Care, conversation, observation, and listening are simple ways that we can discover how to love and encourage those around us best. This is no small task, but rather an intentional act of love. We also can lead by acting in compassion, so that we might compel those around us to do the same. May we ever invest in the lives of those around us, so that we may encourage each other to show love and compassion, and do good works. 

Lord, help us to seek, 

Love, listen and learn; 

How to encourage, 

In wisdom, discern. 

We need to know how, 

To love others best; 

By Your grace, love well, 

So each may feel blessed. 

Show us, Lord Jesus, 

How to truly love; 

In word and in deed, 

Hold others above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us best. Thank You that as we seek You, You will show us how to love one another in the same way. Forgive us for our lack of listening and the spaces where we have lacked love. Teach us to listen and learn, seek and discover, the ways that encourage and show love best. Lead us to love those around us in word and deed, so that all may know the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to encourage one another to love and do good. 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

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

Gratitude, Prayerfulness and Joy

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

 

Gratitude, prayerfulness and joy, all come from a heart invested in relationship with Christ. Each of these things are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are a result of our awareness of God in our lives. Joy is that deep-rooted hope that is held in the heart that bursts forth, even when life is hard, circumstances are maddening, or things just are not going the way that we had planned. To pray continually, is to be in ongoing communion with our Creator. In the same way that we readily have conversation with our spouse, friends, children and the like; we too, ought to be continually having conversations with Christ. When things are difficult; ask Him for help. When things are good; we ought to rejoice and praise Him for His provision and blessing. To give thanks in all circumstances is not a gratitude for what is happening, but rather for Who is walking beside us as we navigate whatever comes our way. Over the last year, I have had some incredibly difficult circumstances to navigate, yet by God’s grace, there has been joy, gratitude, and grace, as I have clung to Christ and He has carried the worst of the weight, when I could carry no more. I certainly do not have this down perfectly; for I am flawed and fallible and an ongoing work in progress, as Jesus gives me grace and grows me as I pursue His best for my life. May we be full of joy and thankfulness as we continue to prayerfully pursue our Provider.

 

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose rejoice;

No matter what comes,

With thanks, lift our voice.

For God’s always good,

Even when life’s not;

Keep seeking in prayer,

When blessed and distraught.

All thanks be to God,

Source of grace and joy;

Provider of hope,

Let praise be employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that joy is found in hope in You. Thank You that we can pray anytime and anywhere, for You hear our heart as we direct our thoughts to You. Thank You that there is always reason to give You thanks, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for confusing circumstantial happiness with true and lasting joy. Teach us to pray continually, ever seeking and praising You; for You love us and lead us through all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find lasting joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in the hope we know, and praise You for who You are and how we can freely come before You in prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. 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

Place of Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Perfect peace. When we feel it, we know it, for there is no comfort that comes close to that of His peace when we are quiet in His presence and able to simply settle in and soak in the sweet safety of knowing He is near. I wish that I could tell you that I am constantly hanging out in this space, but alas, I am not. Yesterday began well, as I spent time in the word and the tone for my day was embedded in truth. However, by early afternoon, the weight of all I had carried throughout the week caught up with me, and I had a mini melt down. Everything felt like it was too much. Hours on end each day, seated in one place, staring at a computer screen, trying to learn and make sense of this new platform for instructing; monitoring incoming daily messages from my mom’s senior living community, and struggling to actually contact and communicate with mom this past week, as we played phone tag more than we spoke live; and finally, not getting out of my house except to exercise or to make a grocery run was all at a point of stealing my peace. Part of me wanted to get in the car and just drive. I didn’t care where, just go and see and that there was more to existence than the walls that shelter and protected my family. Sometimes, as it seems, God uses people to bring us back to His perfect peace. My husband came in, hugged me and listened to me, then told me to get ready to go. He took me for a drive along the water, as he knows that is where I am reminded of God’s peace best, and we enjoyed fresh air and quiet as we traveled along. It took little time before we were talking and laughing, and noticing things along the way. We actually spotted a wedding on the waterfront, as two people, a clergy, and a few socially-distanced witnesses were standing in the pagoda by the Puget Sound, exchanging their vows. Our outing ultimately took us to a Fred Meyer for some needed groceries for the week, before returning home for dinner with the family. The evening was sweet and settled, and peace was again present in my heart. This morning, I am grateful for the family that I am blessed to call my own, and will continue to pursue the Lord any time I feel His peace wavering. May we seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is our place of perfect peace.

 

The Lord is our peace, Place of Perfect Peace

In Him, we can thrive;

As we choose to trust,

Each day of our lives.

For circumstances,

Come and go like rain;

But as we choose trust,

His peace shall remain.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Place all in His hands;

His strength, hope and grace,

All we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You and depend on You to be our perfect peace. Thank You that no matter what we are going through, we can still know Your perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become overburdened by the weight of the world. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that we may know Your peace and only carry that which we are meant to shoulder. Show us how to come alongside those around us and help extend strength, hope and grace in Your love, so that they too, may feel and know Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and depend on You in all things and at all times, giving You praise for the perfect peace that Your presence brings. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Be Our Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. – (Ephesians 6:10, MSG)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

 

If anyone can speak truth into our lives as we are limited in what we can safely and wisely do, it is Paul, through his letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul was writing from a Roman prison, encouraging all to find strength in God. His reminder to us is that as we are invested in our walk with God, His strength will rise up in us and flow through us, in all things. In a space of rapidly increasing restrictions and limited availability, there are still a plethora of freedoms that we are granted that Paul did not experience in a Roman prison. We are able to communicate with loved ones, near and far; we are able to get outdoors and take in the fresh air and move. Technology grants us access to far more than ever before, even in as much as the opportunity to worship together, separately, from our own homes, with our own congregations, online. No, it doesn’t look the same, but it is far better than the space Paul was in, and likewise, far better than the confines of a hospital bed, fighting for life. In this time of being primarily home bound, there is room to grow closer to our family, with whom we reside, and time to invest in things that we seldom otherwise do. Yesterday, I walked around the perimeter of our yard and snapped some photos, choosing to be intentional as I looked through the lens. I found great delight in observing how the light and shadows danced among plants ready to bloom, and soaked in the sunshine that has been present all week. Our evening ended with a family game night, and our middle son dominated at Dominoes. Smiles were on each face around the table, and there was a sweet peace in one another’s presence as we laughed and played together. God is so good, and His strength is granted as we trust and depend on Him in all things, great and small.

 

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For that is how strength;

Rises within us,

And reaches great lengths.

As we trust in Him,

For life, love and grace;

He meets and equips,

To run well, our race.

Trust in His goodness,

Look around and see;

He’s ever faithful,

Watch and you’ll agree.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength is limitless and Your love, boundless. Thank You that You make us strong as we seek You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when times are tough. Teach us to trust You, no matter what we see. Show us how to love in the strength You give us, so that others may come to know the abundance of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust in You to be our strength all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9