Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

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) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Formed By His Hands

In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. – (Psalm 95:4-5, NIV) 

The deepest caves and the highest mountains belong to Him. The ocean is His – He created it. He made the dry land with His own hands. – (Psalm 95:4-5, ERV) 

In one hand He holds the mysteries of the earth and in the other He holds the highest mountain peaks. He’s the owner of every ocean, the engineer and sculptor of earth itself. – (Psalm 95:4-5, TPT) 

Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I am reminded again, of the beauty and diversity of all that God’s hands have made. Being a Pacific Northwest native, I love the color and variation that can be observed in our area. We have mountains and streams, oceans and forests, and lush green all around us. In the desert, there is, at a first glance, a seeming lack of variety. However, upon closer investigation, there are wonders for the eyes to take in with the rock formations and canyons, hills and spaces of oasis. Additionally, it takes little time to get out of the city lights in the desert, where stars are in full view at night. There is something about warm nights, clear skies, and countless stars overhead, that reminds me of the incredible power of He who formed it all. May we ever look around in wonder, and notice all of the beauty that God has created. 

All of creation, 

Formed by the Lord’s hands; 

Mountains and forests, 

Oceans and all land. 

Each with His imprint, 

His power displayed; 

Great variety, 

In all He has made. 

All thanks be to Him, 

For all we can see; 

The Lord’s handiwork, 

Rich diversity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty, creativity and diversity in all that Your hands have made. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to notice or have taken for granted, the beauty all around us. Show us how to recognize all of the splendor found in that which was created by Your hands. Teach us to love those around us and care for all that You have made, with intention. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:39

Purposeful Precepts

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life. – (Psalm 119:93, NIV) 

But I’ll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words. – (Psalm 119:93, MSG) 

I will never forget Your commands, because through them You gave me new life. – (Psalm 119:93, ERV) 

Upon first read, I pondered “precepts” and then referred to the dictionary for further clarification. A precept, according to my online dictionary, is a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct. It goes on further to list a precept as an injunction to moral conduct. As we invest in learning and understanding the word of God, we discover directions given that show us how to live the way that God intended. Not only that, but His word reminds us that we are forgiven and set free, so that we may live a new life in Him. The greatest commands that He has given us, tells us to love God and love one another. If we do both of these, we fulfill the law as He intended. Love must direct our every word, thought, and action. God is faithful to guide and direct us in the way that is best, if we are willing to seek Him and follow His leading. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord and His will for all things, for it is by His love that we have new life in Him. 

The word of the Lord, 

Is advice to seek; 

To live our lives well, 

And of His love, speak. 

The more we invest, 

The better we know; 

How to choose love well, 

As His precepts show. 

So, let us rise up, 

Be rooted in love; 

May our lives display, 

Our Father above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direct access to how we are meant to live, through Your word, prayer and worship. Forgive us for the times that we either neglected to heed Your direction, or simply chose to go our own way. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in the love You created us to give. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover the beautiful new life that is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, trust You, and follow Your leading for every day of our lives. Amen. 

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

Love the Lord your 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 

Awareness of Everywhere

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV) 

“Someone might try to hide from Me in some hiding place. But it is easy for Me to see that person”, says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” This message is from the Lord. 

Am I a God anyone can hide from? Do I not see what happens in secret? Am I not everywhere, filling heaven and earth? – (Jeremiah 23:24, VOICE) 

There is both comfort and concern in knowing that God sees and knows all. Comfort comes in knowing that He is aware of all that causes fear and overwhelms us. Concern exists in the awareness of our own faults and failures. God is gracious, but He knows all that we think, say and do. When we are unkind, complacent or far from exhibiting His heart, we grieve the heart of God. In the same way that a parent grieves when their children stray from the way they know they should go, He too, is saddened. However, just as a parent will love their child all the while, He too loves us, His children. Incredibly, God sees and knows all, and still He loves. Because He loved us first, we too have the capacity to love. The more we know Him, the more we long to bless His heart with our words, thoughts and deeds. If we go off course, we need to confess to Him our wrongs, and He lovingly forgives and receives us into His arms. May we ever be aware of God’s loving presence, as He is faithful to help us navigate well.  

The Lord God above, 

He sees and He knows; 

Whatever we do, 

Wherever we go. 

There’s no place on earth, 

Where He will not see; 

All His creation, 

His vast majesty. 

So, seek the Lord’s heart, 

In all that we do; 

To love as He loves, 

He will lead us through. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You see, hear and know all that we think, say and do, You are present to help and love in all that we do. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that does not honor You. Forgive us also, for the times that we somehow thought You would not see, or neglected to give thought to Your awareness of all. Teach us to trust and lean into You, so that our every word and deed demonstrate Your loving kindness to all. 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 praise You for Your presence and seek to honor You in all. Amen. 

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

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? – Romans 2:4

Confidently Seek in Love

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

At first read, this can be a bit intimidating. Who am I to truly know God’s will? The more I read and ponder and pray, the more I recognize that if whatever I am asking God is aligned with loving Him and loving people, then my prayers will be heard. His will not always revealed to us, yet we do know that what He commands of us, desires of us, and has created us for – loving Him and loving those around us. It seems that the bottom line as we approach God for anything, is what is the condition of our heart? What I mean by that is what is our intention for what we are asking. Is it for the good our heart toward Him? Will it help or better the life of another? What I have learned is that God is gracious and kind and full of love, and He hears our heart cry as we come before Him with honesty and truth. He leads and guides in the ways we are meant to go, and blesses us with His peace. May we ever confidently seek the Lord in prayer, trusting that He hears and cares about what we ask as we pursue His best for every circumstance.

 

We can be certain,

The Lord hears our prayer;

Each time that we seek,

He listens with care.

With a heart for good,

Full of love and peace;

God shows us the way,

As grace is released.

So, choose seek the Lord,

Pray confidently;

With a heart of love,

God hears faithfully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what is good. Thank You that if our heart is for loving You and loving people, You hear our prayers with a heart of love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have sought You out of selfishness. Teach us to trust and follow You in all things. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love us so well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with a heart of love, ever pursuing Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

For You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

 

 

Prioritizing Peace and People

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

On one hand, if I observe what is going on in our neighborhood, our schools, our community, our church, our city and beyond, I see much effort being set forth to encourage and strengthen one another. Cheerful greetings to neighbors when out for fresh air, kind words of encouragement for essential workers around town, breakfast and lunch provision for all students in our area, groceries provided by local churches and businesses to families in need, and an outpouring of support for the medical and emergency services community – these all are beautiful efforts to get along and help one another. However, if I turn on the news, I am bombarded with stories seemingly intent on division. Yes, it is important to remain informed, but perhaps small doses are best to avoid being zapped of our resolve to remain invested in doing good. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Though we may not see the results, we never know the impact a generous gesture, kind word, or simply a smile can have on a person. As so many of us are in positions of having to learn an entirely new way of doing our jobs, there are others that are grieving the loss of theirs, and still others who are essential and continue reporting to work as usual, though nothing is usual, all while kids attempt to do remote learning, parents attempt to monitor, help and teach, and everyone needs kindness and encouragement in the process. If we can get along and be at peace in the process, each will be able to successfully navigate their own new. Support and encouragement are beneficial to all, so perhaps we can each be extra generous with kindness in this season. May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, so all may rise better than when we began.

 

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Encourage, lift up;

A blessing of peace,

Fills everyone’s cup.

No act of kindness,

Is ever for naught;

For love and goodness,

Sometimes need be taught.

Taught through our actions,

Not just spoken words;

It requires motion,

For love is a verb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate provider of peace and encouragement in our lives. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to find peace in our relationships and how to best encourage and lift up those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the things that lead to or maintain peace, or have stayed silent when we were meant to encourage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue peace through You, and ever look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen those around us. Show us how to love others best, so that they may know Your perfect peace through encouragement and edification. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to get along with others and to encourage and lift each other up. 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

How We Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NIV)

The light of God’s love shined within us when He sent His matchless Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, TPT)

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)

 

We know love, because God first loved us. Jesus made the way for all who choose believe and receive, to access a love so great, that once it is known, it must be shared. The beauty of God’s love is that it is so all-encompassing that we are filled to overflowing and cannot help but give love as we have been given. Our challenge is to actually receive what is being extended. When we truly take the time to taste and see how good God is and how vast His love is for each one of us, it is impossible to not be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is in that space of grace, when we are fully aware, that we long to give that which we have been given. May we each take pause and allow God’s love to wash over us so that we may view others through His lens of love.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is granted to us;

Ready to receive,

Through His Son, Jesus.

In Him there is life,

Grace and lasting love;

Floods both heart and mind,

As we trust above.

And as we receive,

We expand and grow;

Equipped to love well,

So grace overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us love and to equip us with the capacity to love others as we are loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view others through Your lens of love, and extend all of Your goodness and grace to each person we meet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your light and love in ways that bless their hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have to give so that we may go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5

To Demonstrate Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – (John 13:34, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

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The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Contagious Compassion

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to be present and comfort us throughout all of our days. It matters not whether the need is great or small, His compassion is present and available to all. Days like today, when I wake weary and worn before the day even begins, I know that I need not worry, for He will meet me with the strength I need to navigate today. In the hardest seasons of life, He has been tangibly present to comfort me. Because I have known such goodness and grace, I seek to extend the same to those around me as I am able. Incredibly, the most compassionate and comforting people that I know, have endured some of the most pain and hardship. Perhaps it was out of their own experiences that they gained perspective as to what others need most. May we all praise God, our Provider, as He grants us compassion and comfort when we encounter challenges of any kind. Let our hearts draw from the comfort He provides, so that we too, may comfort those around us.

 

Praise the Lord our God,

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Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

For He’s always good;

Brings comfort in pain,

Makes grace understood.

The love that God gives,

Beyond what we’d hope;

Floods our hearts and minds,

‘til it overflows.

It’s His compassion,

That fills and renews;

Making us aware,

To do the same too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and comfort, whether our need is great or small. Thank You that You see, hear and know our needs, even better than we do, and You meet us where we are. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing so that we can go forth and extend comfort and compassion to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to see the need, or have ignored the prompting in our hearts to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to provide whatever is needed where we are called. Show us how to love those around us with comfort and compassion, so that Your heart may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we with grateful hearts receive Your comfort and grace, and reach out to extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

United in Peace

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, ERV)

Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of life for my father-in-law with my husband, sister-in-law, her husband, and my brother-in-law. Incredibly, despite the eclectic collection of family brought together by loss, there was a sense of peace in the room, despite normal tensions between some of the various family members. Everyone seemed to set aside their differences for the sake of celebrating their eldest sibling/uncle. Stories were shared around tables, and much laughter filled the room. I think Donald would have been pleased to see smiling faces, rather than tears, and delighted at the distance that so many traveled to gather in his honor. The sentiment that Mark, his brother and I walked away with, was gratitude. We were thankful for the opportunity to see the aunts, uncles and cousins all together in one place, and to have had a positive and peaceful gathering together with family.

 

Each chance that we get,

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6/7 of the remaining siblings in top photo. Their children in photo below.

Rise up and choose peace;

Preserve what God gives,

Allow grace release.

A spirit of peace,

Invites others in;

Broadens your circle,

It’s how grace begins.

Go forth in God’s grace,

Sow always, His peace;

Let God’s love be known,

For it shall not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us peace in places it seems unlikely. Thank You for empowering us with Your Spirit to extend peace wherever we go. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected our role as purveyors of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to go before us, walk beside us, and dwell within us in peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that promote Your peace wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and share Your peace wherever we go. 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