Loving God Includes Loving People

And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:21, NIV)

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:21, ERV)

The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. – (1 John 4:21, MSG)

God does not mince words. There is no lack of clarity in His command. If we love God, we must love people too. Loving people requires that we have what is best for them in mind; that we pray for love and peace for all. Of course there are those whom we must love from afar, as attempts to navigate a healthful relationship have been exhausted and we are not meant to be a doormat or subject to abuse. However, even with those who have ill intent toward us, we can pray for their well-being and for God’s love to penetrate their hearts and minds. In order to love people as God intended, we must grow in our love and knowledge of who God is and understand how He loves. God’s love is extravagant and merciful; it is sacrificial and forgiving. We are only able to love because He first loved us. The Lord loved us when we were broken and far from Him, and He loves us as we seek and listen to Him. 

When I think about loving in the same way that we love our brothers and sisters, it reminds me of the power that is placed in such love. I know that I would do anything and everything humanly possible to help and bless my own sister, for both her joys and sorrows are shared by me because of love. Our charge is to love all those around us in the same way. 

Considering the current state of the nation, with so much division and strife, how can we choose to love well? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that love is a choice. It is an ongoing, ever-growing, intentional decision to be kind and desire the very best for those around us. Barriers break down when we choose to love. We must learn to listen to understand and choose to love, even when it is seemingly impossible. Sometimes, love is not saying what we desire to say, as our words are to “prove” a point, rather than to edify those around us. May we seek our Savior to show us how to love Him and love all people in the way He intended.

We are commanded,

Sister love from the start. ❤

To walk well in love;

Love God and people,

Trust grace from above.

As we choose love God,

Sisters and brothers;

We give the Lord room,

Work with each other.

Lord, help us to choose,

Your heart and Your way;

Let Your love lead us,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we seek You and place our heart in Your hands, You transform us to more clearly reflect the love You have for all. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and actions have grieved Your heart. Teach us to love You and love all people well. Show us how we are meant to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and pursue a life that demonstrates love to all those around us. Amen.

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

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

To Treasure What Matters Most

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

“Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also.” – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

If we focus on loving God and loving people, our treasure will be found in doing just that. Our treasure is our time, talent and resources. When we invest what we have and who we are into that which God is calling us to, our lives become fully invested. This can be a tricky road to navigate, for when we truly look around and open our eyes and hearts, the need can become overwhelming. God does not ask us to solve the world’s woes alone. Rather, He calls us to love one person at a time, as our paths cross. If we treasure our time and remember that others are a gift from Him, we end up loving God and those around us as He intended. 

Currently, many of us are in a season of great loss; loss of loved ones, loss of security, loss of normalcy, and more. In the last two days of conferencing, I have met with a grieving family, and heard devastating news of another family’s loss, whose daughter I had in class. Additionally, a very dear family friend is in his final hours. My heart grieves for each family, and I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. As we recognize that our days are limited, we are reminded who holds each day in His hands. When all that I am begins the day seeking God, I am better equipped to remember the gift that each day holds in Him and in time with those whom He has given me. May we ever treasure what matters most, and seek to love as we are loved by God.

May our hearts treasure,

That which matters most;

God and all people,

As we keep each close.

Each near in our hearts,

Let us lift and pray;

Value each other,

And love in God’s way.

For God so loves us,

That to us, He gave;

Love, light and freedom,

Grace to walk His way.

Lord, help us to bring,

Each prayer and concern;

Teach us to love well,

As we grow and learn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our greatest treasures are found in You and those whom You place in our lives. Thank You that You show us and grow us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to hoard the treasure You intended for others. Show us how and where to invest our time, talent and resources. Help us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize where true hope is found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to treasure what matters most. Amen.

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

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21

To Love Our Neighbors

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, NIV)

The man answered, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ Also, ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, ERV)

The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’” – (Luke 10:27, TPT)

In this chapter of Luke, Jesus was having a discussion with a religious scholar who was trying to trap Jesus with his questions. The verse listed above is the scholar’s response to Jesus’ question that He asked in response to the man’s initial inquiry about what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus had asked him what was written in the Law, and then the man quoted verse 27. The scholar then went on to ask, “…who is my neighbor?” I imagine that Jesus’ response shook him to the core. Jesus went on to tell the parable of the good Samaritan. The story is about a man who was attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest passed by, saw the wounded, but continued on down the road. Next, a Levite, who was one much like the scholar to whom Jesus was speaking, did the same as the priest. Finally, a Samaritan (who was loathed by the scholar and his kind) came upon the injured man and not only helped him, but bandaged his wounds and took him into town on his own donkey. Upon arrival, the Samaritan took him to an inn and paid for his lodging so that the man might rest and recover. Jesus then asked the scholar which of the three had been a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers. He who had questioned Jesus, recognized that the one who had been a neighbor to the wounded man was the Samaritan who had been merciful. Jesus then told the scholar to go and do likewise.

The point in all this is for self-reflection. How can we love God and love our neighbors as we are called to love? What does it look like when we love with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind? We cannot be all things to all people, but we can begin to love our neighbors well, one at a time. Where are there needs? It is not difficult to find them if we move about with open eyes and hearts. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love those around us in ways that truly reflect His heart.

Love God and people,

To this we are called;

Each as our neighbor,

Next door and beyond.

To all those we meet,

We’re meant to show love;

To help and uplift,

With grace from above.

When we see a need,

Let’s do what we can;

Choose love like the Lord,

And live out His plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and show us how to love You and love those around us. Thank You that neighbor is not just about people who live nearby, but rather is anyone with whom we cross paths. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may be filled with compassion and grace that seeks to serve and love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we love the way we were created to love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and wisdom as to how to love best, all whom we encounter. 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

Called to Peace and Praise

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

We are where we are, on purpose, for a purpose. The community where we reside and the circles we find ourselves in, are intentionally selected so that we may be ambassadors of peace. As we allow Christ to rule our hearts, we are guided by His peace. For this, and for so much more, we have every reason to give thanks. This season comes at the perfect time, as gratitude brings peace and reminds us of the blessing of the body of people that surround us. God is good, even when life is hard. His peace is present every time we submit our hearts to His, and gratitude cannot help but well up and overflow to those around us. May we seek the Lord and His peace, so that we may share His goodness with all those around us. For God and all of the countless blessings He has given us, let us ever be thankful.

Lord, we surrender,

Our hearts unto You;

Bring peace to us all,

As grace makes us new.

May our lives give thanks,

For all that You are;

Present and peaceful,

Hope’s true open door.

Help us to reach out,

With thanks and with grace;

To love others well,

As we give You praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and give our lives to You, You fill us with Your peace. Thank You that You call us to love well as members of one body. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of giving thanks and promoting Your perfect peace. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us in love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bring Your peace where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for our perfect peace in You. Amen.

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

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:4-5

Love Conquers All

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV) 

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV) 

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT) 

Right now, this seems to be all that I know to do; pray and love. Between my job that now has me staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hours a day, and a dog, who like me, has to get out and move every single day, I have had to order my days so that they begin with screenless movement. I love deeply, and am struggling watching dear friends on both sides of the political divide blast the other with blanket statements about people who stand in opposition to their own convictions. With everything that is in me, I cannot engage. There is nothing in my entire being that desires to participate in the sort of name-calling that was problematic on an elementary school playground. With love, there would be listening and seeking to understand. I must choose what is important and focus on that which matters most. The only thing that I know to do right now is to pray, and to seek to love well. My hope and prayer is that at the end of the day, love will lead us home. Christ loved the sinners and the saints, the righteous and the unrighteous. He chose love and mercy, kindness and compassion. Yes, there were times that He cleared the temple courts and called out the crooked ways in the self-righteous, yet even so, He loved. From the tax collectors who extorted funds from His people, to the very hands that hung Him on the cross, Christ’s love forgave and offered help and hope and new life to all who were willing to receive. If Christ is our example, how can we choose differently? We must be intentional to choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the most excellent way; for love conquers all.  

Lord, help us to love, 

In each circumstance; 

Forgive and be kind, 

So love may advance. 

Let not our theories, 

Opinions, beliefs; 

Keep us from loving, 

Offering relief. 

For what matters most, 

Is how we choose love; 

Mirror God’s own heart, 

Seeking Christ above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and loving and full of grace. Thank You that You are merciful, and that You call us to live like You. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not demonstrate Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love like You. Amen. 

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

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

Let Go and Love

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV) 

“Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV) 

“Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.”  – (Leviticus 19:18, MSG) 

Revenge and grudges do not bring change. Love, however, does. If we truly love our neighbors as we are called to love, how can society help but change? Wrongs cannot always be righted, yet changed behavior can make the present and future far better. The more we understand one another, the better we are able to love. I imagine that the reason God says to love our neighbors as ourselves is because we know well, how we want to be treated and loved. Not one of us wants to be treated as less than, so we ought to always aim to love more. To love as God loved us means that we put others first, and seek to do good in ways that help and bless and lift our sisters and brothers up. We are all a work in progress, but we must do our part to pursue God’s best for one another. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, so that we are solution seekers rather than those who seek revenge. 

Do not seek revenge, 

Or carry a grudge; 

But instead, love well, 

Let God be the judge. 

Seek always love well, 

Sisters and brothers; 

Let’s choose to love first, 

Help one another. 

Find ways to lift up, 

Encourage others; 

Bless and do not curse, 

Goodness discovered. 

For just as God loves, 

We’re called to the same; 

Give goodness and grace, 

To honor God’s name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us better than we could love ourselves. Thank You that You call us to the same. Forgive us for the times that we have sought revenge or held a grudge. Teach us to give our anger and frustration to You, and lean on You to lead us to love well. Show us how to bless, encourage, lift up and love well, all of those whom You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of ugliness and embrace one another in love. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – Romans 12:10

Live Wisely and Do Good

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV) 

So be very careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, ERV) 

So be careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, TPT) 

How we live matters. To live well requires wisdom and a choice to make the most of every opportunity to do good and live for His purposes. Evil exists in the world, but we can overcome evil with good. We can either allow the darkness to overcome us, or we can be light bearers and bring good wherever we go. No one is perfect, yet we can ever purposefully pursue His best for how we live out our days. When we are intentional to seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we walk in His wisdom and grace that leads us to love as we are loved by Him. May we ever be careful how we live; choosing wisdom and the pursuit of good toward all. 

Choose live carefully, 

Use wisdom and grace; 

To love and do good, 

Throughout all our days. 

Though there is evil, 

True good overcomes; 

Wise, loving living, 

Shows how good is done. 

So, ever pursue, 

God’s purpose for us; 

Be bearers of light, 

Just like our Jesus. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the evil in the world, You are good, and good overcomes every darkness. Thank You that You designed each of us to be bearers of light and to do good. Forgive us for the times that we have not. Show us how to listen to Your leading, so that we may do good and love well. Teach us to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You grant us wisdom to do good, regardless of what surrounds us. Amen. 

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

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

Do for Others

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV) 

Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, ERV) 

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG) 

This biblical directive, which is also known as the “Golden Rule” in non-church circles, is the very minimum that we ought to do as humans. To stop and think about how we would want to be spoken to, treated, and the like, ought to drive how we operate in our daily lives. Incredibly, the saying, “You get what you give,” holds true more often than not. For example, when out for a run, or taking my dog for a walk, I make a point to smile and say hello to every person that I pass. What I find, is that the same is returned to me, and a pleasant exchange has taken place, that required very little effort. A heart that listens, kindness, compassion and a willingness to draw near, are all things that I would want to be given. These things are reminders of what I must do for others, as I imagine that most have a similar desire to be heard and treated with kindness and compassion. This is a lifelong process, as we ever learn and grow and discover more of what it means to love well, and it is one that is required for community to exist. May we ever seek the Lord to show us more of how to love and treat one another the way that He intended, so that His love may be evident in us. 

Do unto others, 

As you would have done; 

In love and kindness, 

As each day’s begun. 

Let what you would like, 

Receive from others; 

Direct ev’ry step, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Choose compassion, 

Willingly draw near; 

Give goodness and love, 

With grace, lend an ear. 

In everything, 

Do as you’d have done; 

For mercy and love, 

Unite us as one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to do unto others as we would like done unto us. Thank You that because You first loved us, we may reach out and love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved, spoken or moved in the way that we should. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, and give us Your heart to love well. Show us how to love, respect and do unto others, as we would want in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love one another best. Amen. 

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

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

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

Unite in Purpose

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV) 

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV) 

If some have cause to celebrate, join the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE) 

I am feeling this deeply, yet again, for the third time in a few short weeks. Mourning for lives lost, senselessly, as much of the nation is rendered speechless by the injustices that have transpired. The rejoicing comes, when people rise up, united in purpose to see that justice is brought forth, and awareness is heightened beyond the blatant disregard for human lives. As a mom and a teacher, I desperately want better for my children – my own by birth, and those entrusted to me in the classroom. This call to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn, is simply a specific directive of how we can love people well. When we have empathy, through truly listening and hearing the hearts of those around us, we learn and grow and discover ways to be better; do better, for all. My role, as a woman of faith, is to ever be seeking to grow in wisdom and understanding, so that my words, thoughts and actions reflect the heart of Christ. Christ came and loved all. He is the model of how we are meant to live and love one another. He did not fear those who were not like Him, but He came close and loved well, overcoming the cultural barriers of the time with love. Love looked like the Savior speaking to a woman who was an outcast; it touched those deemed untouchable with sickness or disease; love helped and healed and spoke truth, even when it was not the popular opinion. Love stood up for righteousness and truth, and cleared the temple when those who had ill-intentions tried to enter in. Love stands up for justice and truth. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we will listen and learn, act and speak out, to bring change so that all may live without fear. 

When good comes around, 

Rejoice together; 

In midst of sorrow, 

Grieve too, do better. 

Choose seek to listen, 

To learn and to grow; 

Love well, each other, 

Let God’s love be shown. 

To live heart to heart, 

Sisters and brothers; 

Seek to choose love first, 

Honor each other. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us ways that we can love one another as we are created and called to love. Thank You that Jesus showed us what it was to rejoice with people when they are rejoicing, and to mourn with those who are mourning. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to understand first, or have neglected to recognize the reasons to rejoice or mourn with those around us. Teach us to follow Your example of love. Show us how to best love everyone around us, rejoicing when there is reason to celebrate, and mourning when there is reason to grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You know every heart and how to heal brokenness in people, communities, and our nation. Help us to follow Your lead well. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10