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

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

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

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

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

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

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

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

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

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

Think About Each Other

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, HCSB)

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)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

If we take our eyes off of ourselves and take a look around us, it is easy to see the need for love, kindness and good deeds all around us. I know for me, when I am the recipient of such, I am inspired to go and do likewise. The status quo gets disrupted in the very best way, I am compelled to do differently. May we each be concerned about those around us – our family, our friends, our colleagues, and each individual we encounter in a day, to look for ways to encourage and make the day a bit brighter. Sometimes, it is as simple as extending a smile or kind word. Lord, help us to be ever listening to Your leading so that we might encourage each other and make Your goodness known.

Lord, help us to look,

Fill one another’s cup.

To see all around;

The need of others,

Let Your good be found.

Show us through Your eyes,

How each person’s seen;

Lead us in Your love,

Be encouraging.

Bring the good to mind,

That will bless, build up;

The goodness and love,

That will fill each cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to care well for one another. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this for us. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated care, concern and encouragement in countless ways. From touching the untouchable, to feeding those who were hungry, You lived and loved in practical and tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to trust in You and to listen in every situation and circumstance. Show us Your heart for each person we encounter and lead us to love and encourage as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for ways to love, encourage and do good for those around us. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Revelation of Love

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, HCSB)

This is how God showed His love to us: He sent His only Son into the world to give us life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, ERV)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

God sent His Son so that we might understand His love and find life everlasting in Him. If we look around, the evidence of His goodness and love are all around us. Because His Son took all of our sin and shame upon His shoulders, we can walk in the goodness of His love and grace and go forth and love likewise. Time with family and friends, puppy snuggles, warmth and love and light are all reminders of God’s love that gives all and withholds nothing. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us anew of the incredible gift of His love that knows no end.

The love of the Lord,

Is our greatest gift;

Lavish sacrifice,

Our hearts to uplift.

Willingly given,

His life for our own;

So we could know Him,

He’s where love is shown.

Look all around us,

His goodness is clear;

Evidence of love,

Is always so near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the greatest love ever given through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Your Son. Because You gave, we can know life and love in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your love all around us. Teach us to see Your heart for us and those around us at all times. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your love all around us and extend the same to all. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

All That We Can

When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one it belongs to. – (Proverbs 3:27, HCSB)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Do not withhold what is good from those who deserve it; if it is within your power to give it, do it. – (Proverbs 3:27, VOICE)

The thing is, we can always give good. Our kindness, attention and grace cost us nothing, yet provide much to those who need it most. God is the ultimate giver of all good, and we are called to love in the same way. Sometimes, it is through tangible giving of things, yet often, it is our time, energy and love that are truly needed. As we seek the Lord and receive His goodness and grace, we are compelled to love those around us in the same way. During this most wonderful season, there are always needs to be met. It is up to us to look around us and do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are. May we open our eyes to see the need around us and do what we can to give good to all.

Lord, open our eyes,

So that we may see;

The needs we can meet,

By grace, faithfully.

Teach us to choose love,

To honor and serve;

To love as we’re loved,

Kindness not deserved.

For all deserve good,

Not for what’s been done;

But rather because,

We’re daughters and sons.

All of creation,

You’ve made and called good;

So help us to love,

Each one as we should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and give good gifts, not because we deserve them, but because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for neglecting to do the good that we can, and lead us in Your love to give of our time, talents and resources wherever You ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can love those around us as You first loved us. Show us how to love like You wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do everything we possibly can, with what we have, wherever we are. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion for one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Acutely Aware of Good

I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn Your righteous laws. – (Psalm 119:7, NIV) 

The more I understand how fair Your laws are, the more sincerely I will praise You. – (Psalm 119:7, ERV) 

With a pure heart, I will give thanks to You when I hear about Your just and fair rulings. – (Psalm 119:7, VOICE) 

Every time I get out in nature, I become acutely aware of God’s goodness and grace. Everything He asks of us is wrapped up in love – our call is to love Him and love people. If we do that, we are following His law with an upright heart. Incredibly, He loved us first; so much so, that He created beauty all around us and in us, simply to show us His love. This weekend, my family is blessed with time to get away to the woods and enjoy time together. Yesterday afternoon, my love and I took Thor, our nearly five-month-old lab puppy for a little hike around and down to a lake. It was the first time that he has been to a lake, and I don’t think his tail stopped wagging the entire time he waded in the water. Last evening, before we retired for the night, Thor met Raven, a four-month-old female lab, and the two of them were completely smitten with one another. I guess where I am going with this, is that pups love purely. Thor loves being outdoors in His creation, and loves people and other pups with a relentless, unwavering love. Observing the world through his eyes grants me an even deeper appreciation for God and His goodness to us all. May we ever seek the Lord to understand more deeply, the overwhelming passion with which He loves us all. Let our hearts praise Him with every breath and step that we take; for He is so very good. 

May each heart give praise, 

All thanks unto You; 

For justice and love, 

As Your ways are true. 

You call us to love, 

Yourself and others; 

Relentlessly shown, 

Sisters and brothers. 

All of creation, 

Demonstrates His love; 

If we look around, 

And praise Him above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and gracious, and that which You ask of us is right and fair. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or deeds have not reflected the love You call us to give. Teach us to love with an upright heart, and to give You praise throughout all of our days. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and love forever. Amen. 

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

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20

Clothed in Compassion

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

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

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

 

The tremendous impact that the mounting shutdowns are going to have on some of our local families continue to grow, as the governor called for the closure of all restaurants last night. Already, last evening, my husband and I could see the impact this COVID-19 crisis is having on such businesses, as we stopped at our favorite Thai restaurant, after I had picked him up from the airport. For a good twenty minutes, we were the only pair dining in the place. A few folks did come in to pick up take-out orders, and two more tables of two entered and were seated, prior to the end of our meal. Beginning today, their family business will be entirely dependent on take-out orders for sustaining their existence. I know there are so many others that are deeply impacted by this decision. As we navigate each new day, we must be compassionate and kind, gentle, humble, and unoffendable in our patience with others. We know not what the person in front, behind, or beside us is going through, and odds are, each could really use some kindness, patience and compassion in the midst of the current chaos. In a space like this we can either hide out in our own little space, or we can lift our head, look around, and seek ways to reach out and extend help where we are able. Because we are chosen and dearly loved, we are meant to love likewise. May we look for opportunities to show mercy to others, extend kindness and gentleness, be humble always, and choose to be unoffendable in our patience with others.

 

Because we are loved, Be Clothed in Compassion

We’re called to the same;

Compassionately,

In Christ’s Holy Name.

He arms us with strength,

Love, humility;

Empowers patience,

Most generously.

Let’s extend mercy,

Kindness through God’s grace;

Give as we’re given,

In this time and space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Thank You that as we do, we are equipped and empowered to love others as You so lavishly love us. Forgive us for either thinking there is nothing we can do, or for getting caught up in our own concerns. Teach us to have eyes to see the world around us as You do, so that we may reach out and do what we can with what we have been given. Show us how to love generously, live compassionately, and be unoffendable in our patience as we navigate these trying times as Your ambassadors of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to strengthen and equip us to be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we may love others as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Skies Speak of His Splendor

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Some of the many blessings found in living in the Pacific Northwest, include the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges out in plain sight, the glistening waters of the Puget Sound, and the plentiful places of green found in the woods, as the forests and parks are still abundant in our area. Each time I catch a sunrise making its debut over Mt. Rainier as I drive into work, I am reminded of the incredible work of God’s hands that are all around me. In the evening, as the sun fades in a flame of orange against the purple sky atop the waters of the Sound, and the first stars begin to make their appearance, the tale of God’s glory is being told. Reminders of His goodness and glory are all around us, as is the evidence of His intentional and overwhelming love. May we take the time to recognize the tale of God’s splendor being told and give Him all thanks and praise for the goodness of His love.

 

The heavens declare, Breaking Free from Barriers

The glory of God;

Announcing His work,

Worthy of applaud.

The sun and the moon,

The stars in the sky;

Hand-crafted in love,

As each testify.

They show God’s glory,

The work of His hands;

Hand-crafted in love,

So we’d understand.

All of creation,

And all that draws breath;

Made by the Father,

To bring life from death.

Let’s look all around,

See with heart and eyes;

Beauty created,

Glory recognized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the beauty You have created all around us declares Your glory and the work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking pause to stand in awe of all that You have made, as Your craftsmanship tells the story of Your incredible love and intentional design for each one of us. Teach us to slow down and appreciate the work of Your hands, as the beauty of Your creation is all around us. Show us how to love and encourage those with whom we interact, so that they too, may come to understand the purpose and precision with which they were created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the incredible work of Your hands that is all around us and in each one of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Recognizing and Responding to Good

Mary responded, “Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, NLT)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, ERV)

My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, VOICE)

 

Mary both recognized and responded to the glory of God and the good gifts that He gave. This morning, as I rose long before it was necessary, I find myself in a similar space of gratitude. Though Mary’s circumstances were far different than my own, I share the very same God, and He comes closer still, because of what was done so long ago through the willingness of His faithful. I am regularly in awe of His grace and mercy, and can see how His hand has carried me through the times of trial. He is good, and my whole heart celebrates His loving kindness. May we look to the Lord in awe and praise, for His love and goodness granted all of our days.

 

Let us set our hearts, Believe Instead of Striving

In a poise of praise;

Because the Lord saves,

For all of our days.

The Lord is our help,

May spirits rejoice;

Celebrate our God,

With mind, heart and voice.

Praise for what He’s done,

And who the Lord is;

Our life, love and song,

Why all praise is His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, whom You sent to us to save us. Thank You for the great things that You have done for us, in us and through us. Thank You that we can call You our Savior. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and praise for all that You have done throughout all of our days. Teach us to take time to look around and see the work and wonder of Your hand, help and great love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and points people to Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in all that You have done; for You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Amen.

 

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

 

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