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

Purposed for Community

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV) 

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV) 

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, TPT) 

I love how God granted wisdom to those who recorded the letters of the Bible in ways that were relateable and applicable throughout the ages. For me, these verses apply to so many areas in life; any organization or group that we fall into, requires just such thinking for success. What I mean is simply that we all have different gifts, strengths, talents, and more to contribute, yet it is when we work together as a whole, good things occur. In a family unit, when each of us do our best with the strengths and gifts that we have been given, with the intent of contributing to the family as a whole, things are accomplished and peace and love prevail. In the school setting, this holds true as well, as each person who enters campus has a function to contribute to both the process and the progress of the purpose being carried out. From administrators to counselors, teachers to security officers, custodians to librarians, support staff to specialists, students and parents alike – all can either help or hinder the functionality of a school. In the same way that I listed the various roles of the body that makes up a school community, so too, does the Bible speak of the various roles and functions of those who join together as a church community, with the common purpose of loving God and loving people well.  

As I prepare for day one of back-to-school training, I am considering my own role and function, and what I might be able to contribute to the whole. For me, I live, love and fulfill my role best, when I am investing in growing – body, heart, soul and mind. Growth only occurs when we are intentional to invest our time into learning and placing what we learn into action. This is true for physical training, academic advancement, and living and loving in ways that not only contribute to the whole, but that spur others on to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and grow us in Him, so that we may contribute to our communities with purpose, and see the great value in each of those around us as they do the same. 

We all have a role, 

That we’re to fulfill; 

Wherever we are, 

There’s room for growth still. 

God made us to grow, 

To improve, to thrive; 

To love each other, 

Do more than survive. 

In order to thrive, 

We need each other; 

Mother and father, 

Sister and brother. 

So, let us each rise, 

And purpose to grow; 

Body, mind and heart, 

Let God’s best be shown. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to thrive in community. Thank You that You designed each of us with a role and purpose in each “group” to which we belong – be it church, family, neighborhood, city and more. Forgive us for the times that we have remained stagnant, or have not sought to grow and contribute in the ways in which we have been created to do, as well as for the times that we placed some sort of hierarchy on those around us and the roles that they fulfill. Not one is more important than the other; for all are needed to function and fulfill their purpose best. Show us how to learn and grow, value and live out the very best that You have for our communities. Lead us to love one another in such a way, that each member feels valued and encouraged to do their best and invest in ongoing growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest, value, and contribute to each body that we are blessed to be considered a member. Amen. 

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

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:10

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV) 

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV) 

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ – and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, TPT) 

There is so much to this passage. First, it is an incredible exhortation, reminding us of the infinite power that is found in Christ and His ability to work in and through us. The part of this that baffles me is that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus from prison. He had seen and continued to know and experience the amazing power of God at work in and through both himself and fellow followers of Jesus. Additionally, as Paul recognized all that God was doing, and all that He would continue to do, He was intentional to point out where all praise is due. When Paul speaks of the church, he is referring to every body of believers. The church is not a building, but rather those who join together for the common purpose of loving God and loving people. Through the love of God, so much more than we could hope or imagine, becomes possible. 

In my life, after my first marriage ended, I did not think that sort of love was for me. My focus was on God and my boys, and that was all that mattered. Family and friends surrounded us, and God was faithful to be present and provide all that was needed and more. As I grew in a much deeper understanding of who He had created me to be, I did begin to hope, to dream, and to imagine what might be possible. Now, more than six years later, I am preparing to celebrate my second anniversary with the man that God knew I needed. In our nearly two years of marriage, we have had to navigate some crazy and difficult things; all of which God brought us through, by His strength – together. Each of us needed one another, as God had intended. Grace, support, encouragement and unconditional love have been tangible reminders of what God will do that extend far beyond what either of us could have hoped or imagined. That does not mean that it is all easy or smooth sailing, but we do have each other with God in the center, as He has shown us again and again how He works in and through us, and is worthy of all of our praise forever. 

No matter where you find yourself, God is faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, especially in the midst of the difficult. May we ever lean into the Lord and give Him all of our praise, for He is faithful to strengthen, encourage, and carry us from start to finish in all situations. God can do infinitely more than we could hope or imagine, and that is reason to praise. 

The power of God, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Is beyond compare; 

He’s faithful always, 

Love He freely shares. 

A love that strengthens, 

When we’re feeling weak; 

Encourages hope, 

As all things feel bleak. 

Provision abounds, 

For He’s ever near; 

To carry us through, 

Heartaches and our fear. 

All glory to God, 

Let our lives give praise; 

To He who’s worthy, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, our strength and supply. Thank You that You are faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine as we depend on You. Forgive us for our lack of trust, as You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our trust and praise. Continue to teach us how incredibly faithful You are, as we seek You with our lives. Show us how to love those around in ways that encourage hopes and dreams in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all glory, honor and praise forever. Amen. 

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

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! – Hebrews 9:14

Love Builds Up

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT) 

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV) 

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT) 

In order to help others and build them up in the Lord, we must be invested and growing in the Lord ourselves. The more deeply we understand and receive the love He has for us, the better equipped we are to empower others to do what is right and encourage them to be their best selves. I know I keep coming back to loving God and loving people, but this is the greatest command. If we do this, all else will follow. When we love people, we want to help them do what is best for them. When we love God, we want others to know and understand the beauty and blessing that is held in a relationship with Christ. May we invest in our relationship with the Lord and allow Him to grow us in our love, so that we may go forth and love others in the way that He is calling us to love. 

May we choose to love, 

In Christ’s righteous way; 

Building others up, 

God’s grace on display. 

Empower others, 

To do what is right; 

Support, encourage, 

Shine bright, God’s love light. 

For as we love God, 

And love each other; 

Good and grace rise up, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to build each other up and encourage one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to build others up. Teach us to invest in our relationship with You, so that we might love as we are called to love. Show us how to best encourage and build up those around us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13

Showing Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God is not unfair. How can He forget your hard work for Him, or forget the way you used to show your love for Him – and still do – by helping His children? – (Hebrews 6:10, TLB)

 

Everything points back to loving God and loving people. If we are loving people with the love that God has planted within us, we are loving Him as well. Love is an ongoing choice to care for others – body, heart, mind and soul. It is an intentional decision to see and meet needs, in the same way that God sees our needs and provides for us in love. Each time that we choose to love others, we are loving God’s creation. To love the created, we must also love the Creator. God sees and He knows each time that we choose to love. We are saved by grace, but it is certainly good and right to live according to His plan of love. May we rise up and put our faith in action, as we intentionally choose to love as God loves each of us.

 

For we are all called, wp-15898092692427851940096367446932.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Love God and people,

With strength from above.

Love not just with words,

But with all we do;

Actions speak clearest,

To show love is true.

God will remember,

Our each act of grace;

In love and kindness,

How we run life’s race.

It is not a sprint,

We must persevere;

Each day choose to love,

And know He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love in the same way that You love each of us. Thank You that You see and know each time we willfully choose to love others in the same way that You call us to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love as we ought to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love You and others according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and seek You to empower us to do the same. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Seek Love that Lasts

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. – (Proverbs 31:30, TPT)

 

Fear of the Lord is a healthy reverence for who He is. It is not the sort of fear that causes us to cower in a corner because there is a lack of love, but rather it is a respect that is filled with awe for who God is and the incredible power He holds in His hands. When we operate our lives in wonder and awe, this healthy fear of the Lord, we begin to love God and love people in the ways that we are called to love. *Charm, or the power of pleasing or attracting through personality or beauty, is not love. (*dictionary.com) Love is a decision that chooses to speak truth, rather than seeks to please, and though love is attractive, it is not given selfishly with the hope of something in return, but rather, it is a pure intention to give of ourselves freely, as we are loved by God. Beauty is an interesting attribute as well, as what one eye perceives as beautiful, another finds ordinary. However, those with beautiful hearts are most often remembered as beautiful. So often, the more I know the heart of someone, the more beautiful they become in my eyes. Physical beauty fades, but beauty of the heart continues to grow as we walk more closely with the Lord. The to be praised portion of this verse reminds me that there are eternal benefits to loving God and loving people. Great is our reward when all is said and done. He blesses us here, but has prepared so much more for us when our time on earth is through. It all points back to loving God and loving people. May we be filled with awe and reverence for the Lord who loves us with an everlasting love, and go forth and love others with a love that is pure and selfless and otherly, exactly as love was designed.

 

Be not deceived, Seek Love that Lasts

By beauty or charm;

Seek love that lasts,

And does not do harm.

With reverence,

Stand in awe of God;

All love’s from Him,

For now and beyond.

Rise up and choose,

To love as we’re called;

God and people,

By grace, love for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are what lasts. Thank You that as we invest in relationship with You, we come to know and understand love as You intended it to be. Thank You that as we choose to walk forward in the love You call us to, You show us the goodness that is for now and all that is yet to come. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked reverence for You or love for others. Teach us to live out each day in love, according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love others well, so that they may know the depth and breadth of love found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love You and love people well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the eyes of the Lord are on all those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:18

Willing Hearts and Hands

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

 

God is love. He is faithful to show His unfailing love to all who choose to love Him and seek to keep His commands. If we are loving God and loving people, we are actively and intentionally obeying all that He asks. Our decision to do so does not mean that we will have a life free from trial or pain, but it does mean that we will have the faithful love of the eternal God for now and in all of life that is yet to come. May we ever remember that the Lord is our God whom we can trust, as He keeps His word and shows love and kindness to all who love and obey Him.

 

The Lord is our God,

img_2019-03-28_04-47-58351761552074302753.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

In whom we can trust;

His promise to love,

Forever for us.

All who choose to love,

And obey as asked;

Know unfailing love,

That will always last.

So, keep His commands,

For they’re about love;

Love God and people,

His grace is enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You that You show love and kindness to all who seek You and obey what You ask. Thank You that Your presence is promised for all time. Forgive us for the times that we are less than loving or do not recognize Your nearness. Please remind our hearts of Your nearness and fill us with Your love for those around us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey Your leading with willing hearts and hands. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Hope Overflows

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.  – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

God, who is our hope, is the giver of joy and peace as we trust in Him. The more we trust, the more His hope flows through us to pass it on. Hope can be contagious. As His hope is made evident in us, others too, discover hope to which they may hold. May we ever pray that He who is hope, will infuse the lives of those around us with abundant joy and peace, so that they too may lay hold of the hope that is found in Christ alone.

 

Let hope fill our hearts,0316191100510225620313270911.jpg

As great joy and peace;

Come forth as we trust,

His grace is released.

We’ll find more and more,

Our loving God gives;

Hope overflowing,

All we need to live.

And not to survive,

But in Him, live well;

Hope in abundance,

While in Him we dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all hope who grants us joy and peace as we trust in You. Thank You that hope is contagious. Forgive us for not digging in when hope is difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ever be holders of hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends the glorious hope that we know to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, recognizing the joy and peace that accompany Your hope alone. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in You. – Psalm 25:21

 

 

Seek to Discover

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 we pursue a life of loving God and loving people, encouragement and good deeds become the things we desire to do well. Incredibly, as we encourage others through compassion, kindness and various expressions of love, we too, are built up. Additionally, as I have been encouraged and shown various expressions of love, I have been spurred on to go and do likewise. May we ever seek to discover creative ways to encourage others and motivate them toward acts of compassion as we choose to do beautiful works that express the very same love that has been granted to us.

 

Let us pursue God,

Peace Through Understanding

Ever seek His love;

Go forth with a heart,

For people above.

May we encourage,

Be kind and show true;

Acts of compassion,

Where God’s love shines through.

Each time that we show,

God’s heart for others;

Love is paid forward,

To one another.

Let us encourage,

With kindness and grace;

Love one another,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage, bless and love those around us, just as You do for us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to reach out to those around us as we feel led, as You tug on our hearts strings in ways that lead to loving others well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading, and bless those around us as we have been blessed by You. Show us how to encourage and love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to discover ways to encourage and bless those around us. Amen.

 

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Blessings to the Seeking

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and living righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. – (Matthew 6:33, MSG)

 

As we pursue God and the path He has placed before us, He provides all that we need. We may not acquire everything we want, yet so often what we receive in His time, is a far greater gift than anything that we could ever ask or imagine. In my life, I was content in my season of singleness, and set my sight on loving God and my children well. All that we needed, His hand provided. Incredibly, He did so much more. New love took root where any thought or hope of such love had been long since lost. It was nurtured to grow as never before, and the longing to be loved as God intended that had been buried in the depths of my heart, has become a true tangible. All of this to say, as we seek our Savior and pursue the path that is upright, He provides all that we need and more. May we seek the Lord above all else, doing what He asks of us, and we will know the bounty of His provision, personally.

 

Seek first our Savior,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And pursue what’s right;

He honors each heart,

In Him who delights.

With grace, He meets us,

In goodness He gives;

All that is needed,

As by faith we live.

Incredible still,

He goes on to bless;

His kids who seek Him,

Despite our life’s mess.

Kindness in chaos,

Peace throughout our storms;

Ongoing goodness,

As His love transforms.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You that when we pursue the path You place before us You provide all that we need to navigate. Forgive us for the times we have attempted to go our own direction and lacked the faith to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever and have great things in store as we walk in Your way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pursue what is right in Your eyes. Amen.

 

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

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8