Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself up for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.- (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Wisdom Through Love

Let whoever is wise pay attention to these things and consider the Lord’s acts of faithful love. – (Psalm 107:43, HCSB)

Whoever is wise will remember these things and begin to understand the Lord’s faithful love. – (Psalm 107:43, ERV)

Is there anyone wise? If so, may the wise take notice of these things and reflect upon the loyal love of the Eternal. – (Psalm 107:43, VOICE)

Wisdom is not something we earn, but rather it is something gained as we seek the Lord and recognize His ongoing acts of faithful love. We can pursue knowledge without gaining wisdom. The more clearly we understand the Lord’s faithful love, the more we grow in wisdom that comes from Him. God’s wisdom instructs us in how to love and give Him glory for His goodness and kindness to us. As we grow in our understanding of His heart for us, we gain wisdom in how we are to love likewise. May we ever seek the Lord and take notice of His loyal love, so that we may grow in wisdom and understanding to love in the same way.

The wisdom of man,

Is mere foolishness;

Compare to the Lord,

Who lavishes us.

He pours out His love,

Kindness and His grace;

Through His example,

We learn of His ways.

The more we observe,

And learn how God loves;

The more that we gain,

Wisdom from above.

O Lord, please show us,

To notice Your ways;

So we learn to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom comes from You. Thank You that as we witness and observe Your ongoing faithful love, we learn who You are and how to truly love well. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we can become wise on our own. Teach us to invest our hearts and time into seeking You to teach us Your heart for the world and how we are meant to love like You. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us on in Your love. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

The Reality of Faith

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Life requires faith. We have faith that the sun will rise and tomorrow will come, yet we have not seen either yet. Faith in God and the hope that we will join Him in heaven when our days on earth are done, are made tangible as we observe all that His hands have made, and witness the glimpses of heaven that we get in the here and now. When I think of all of the beauty of creation and the unique design of every human and creature that lives, I have faith that there is indeed a Creator. There is nothing that can convince me that all that exists came from some cosmic explosion. Incredibly, the word of God tells us that no eye has seen and no mind can fathom the beauty that awaits us in paradise. I am a visual person and have viewed some overwhelming beauty here on earth. Everywhere I go, I witness whispers of the goodness and creativity of God. Though I cannot see Him, I know that He is. I do not have to understand all things for them to be real. This is where faith comes in. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow our faith in Him, and to further our assurance that there is so much more that is yet to come.

Faith is the fuel,

Beautiful Belizean sunrise.

Of what we believe;

Hope that is certain,

Beyond what we see.

The goodness of God,

Creativity;

Beauty surrounds us,

Intentionally.

May we keep seeking,

Choose trust in the Lord;

Ever He’s faithful,

To show us His more.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You. Thank You that the evidence of Your loving hand is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers because the mountains ahead of us seem unsurpassable. Teach us to trust You for each next step, for no obstacle is ever overcome without moving forward in faith. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love, goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever grow our faith with Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Slow Down and Celebrate

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Despite the turmoil that seems to be constantly swirling in our nation, the goodness of God is still evident all around us. No matter what we see or hear going on around us, we can take refuge in the Lord, for His love remains the same forever. For me, as I pause and take inventory of God’s goodness, gratitude rises for the family and friends whom He surrounds me with, and for the grace and kindness He provides, no matter the circumstances that we walk through. He is near and always good, and we can depend on Him to be our space of safety and peace. May we take time to reflect and recognize God’s goodness all around us, and choose to trust and run to Him.

Look all around you,

image by Soda Head

Choose taste and you’ll see;

The goodness of God,

His love’s given free.

Our safe place to run,

His arms full of love;

Safety, provision,

All good from above.

So, trust in the Lord,

Give all thanks to Him;

Celebrate the good,

That He’s placed within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to slow down and celebrate Your goodness, as we gather and enjoy the communities in which we’ve been placed. Thank You that You provide Your love and faithfulness wherever we go. Forgive us for not noticing the blessings that You have placed all around us. Teach us to observe Your goodness and love all around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down to taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

One Body With Many Parts

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. – (Romans 12:4-5, HCSB)

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)

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate this illustration of how we are each a valuable part of the body of Christ, and we each have different strengths, gifts and abilities that contribute to the body as a whole. Because I am so visual, it is an easy analogy to grasp. For example, think about the toes. Often, especially in the Pacific Northwest, they are covered and unseen. However, the toes help support the feet, and the feet hold up the whole body. Though people are seldom aware of their toes, if one is injured, the whole body becomes incredibly alert to what is transpiring with the toe. It is similar in the body of Christ. There are people who are seen and play a role that is obvious in the function of the whole body, and there are others that play roles behind the scenes that contribute to the function of the body too. Though primarily unseen, it is obvious when they are missing or are not doing well. Each of us has gifts and talents to contribute, and no two people are exactly alike. We need each other to be our best and to extend what we have to offer. It is similar in marriage and friendships, and so often, opposites attract. I think much of the attraction is the desire to be with another who has different strengths than we do, and one who appreciates our strengths that are not shared by the other. For example, my husband and most of my closest friends are extroverts, whereas I am an introvert. They bring out the social in me, and I can contribute calm for them. Only a God of love would create us each uniquely, and place in us the desire and need to create community with one another. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us in the role and purpose for which we have been created, and may we see through His lens, how each member plays a role that is good and necessary for the whole body.

We each are a part,

The body of Christ;

With strengths and talents,

In purpose we rise.

Together stronger,

Than if on our own;

We need each other,

To make God’s love known.

For some are the hands,

That reach out and serve;

And others the voice,

That people observe.

Each person a part,

That the body needs;

With strengths and talents,

Each one is unique.

May we each embrace,

Our gifts and our roles;

Contribute in love,

So God is extolled.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we each have been divinely designed to be a part of a community. Thank You that we all have different strengths and roles to extend to help the body become stronger. Forgive us for the times that we compare our parts to another, or somehow devalue the parts that are unseen. Teach us to recognize and value the unique role and purpose that each part plays, and to celebrate the beauty that You have made in bringing us together. Show us how to love those around us for who they are and how they are uniquely designed. May our love honor the strengths and talents of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the part that we were designed to do, and to celebrate and appreciate the other parts around us that make the body complete. Amen.

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

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – Romans 14:13

Faithful Love Follows

But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. – (Psalm 103:17-18, HCSB)

But the Lord has always loved His followers, and He will continue to love them forever and ever! He will be good to all their descendants, to those who are faithful to His agreement and who remember to obey His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, ERV)

But the unfailing love of the Eternal is always and eternal for those who reverently run after Him. He extends His justice on and on to future generations, to those who will keep His bond of love and remember to walk in the guidance of His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, VOICE)

My maternal grandmother was the epitome of a person who was faithful to follow after God, and she loved and prayed for us all. Her kind and loving ways were an example to each of us, and I can see the fruit of her faithfulness to our family. Though not all of the grandchildren choose to follow after God, I can see His hand in all of our lives, for He has protected and provided for us all. My hope is that I might grow in grace and follow in her footsteps. Grandchildren are not on the radar anytime soon, yet I pray for and love our kids as I have been loved and prayed for. God is faithful, and I can see the fruit of my own mom’s faithful prayers in her grandchildren. Each has been protected and held, despite the challenges that life provides. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to follow Him whole-heartedly, and to faithfully love and pray for our children and their children to follow. 

The Lord is faithful,

Gram and some of her great-grandkids.

To those who seek Him;

His presence assured,

As He is asked in.

His love – unfailing,

For He remains near;

To those who ask Him,

His presence is clear.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Carries on and on;

To those who seek Him,

His love is shown strong.

May we continue,

To love and lift up;

Our kids and their kids,

So faith is built up.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to those who seek You, and to their descendants that follow. Thank You that You show us what it looks like to faithfully follow You through our parents and grandparents. Forgive us for the times that we have not set the example that You intended. Teach us to pursue You whole-heartedly and to lift up and love well our children and their children to come. Show us how to love as You love, so that Your heart may be made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek You and pursue a life of loving those around us as You do. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Comfort That Conveys Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Sing, Praise and Encourage

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord Jehovah. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, TPT)

As we encourage one another and give praise to God, we are reminded of our reasons to praise Him. When I pause and take time to observe everything and everyone that God has brought into my life, I cannot help but praise and thank Him. There is something so powerful about worship and praise. We may come before HIm hoping to show Him our gratitude and appreciation, and discover that as we do, we are the ones who are encouraged and built up. God invites us to enter into His presence. As we do, we cannot help but be changed. While our hearts grow lighter and peace floods in, God fills us with His love to extend to those around us. May we ever lift joyful praise to the Lord and allow our hearts to overflow to all those around us.

Let hearts overflow,

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

With sweet songs of praise;

To honor the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Sing and make music,

For all that is good;

Encourage others,

Be kind as we should.

May our hearts reflect,

Our thanks to the Lord;

As our lives give praise,

To Him we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that you call us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You or encourage those around us. Teach us to recognize the enormous blessing we have in life with You, no matter what goes on around us. Show us how to love all those with whom we interact, so that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You praise in all things. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting it is to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

Wisdom from Above

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

 

If ever there was a season where Godly wisdom was needed, we are living in it right now. Yes, it is always needed, but it seems particularly important these days, as so many decisions that impact both the lives and the livelihood of our nation, are seemingly held in the hands of relatively few, that do not appear to be led by Godly wisdom. So, what can we do? Our charge is to seek the Lord so that we may walk in His wisdom. In every decision, we must seek to do what is pure, what is peace loving, what is gentle, that which is willing to yield to others, be full of mercy, sincere, and not show favoritism in our love. God loves the saints and the sinners equally. He showed mercy to those who sought Him, no matter where they had come from or what they had done. We need His wisdom to love purely, without prejudice (prejudgment) towards all with whom we interact. It takes little to observe Godly wisdom in action. Who are the ones who are kind to the essential workers, greeting them with care and thanking them for all that they do? There are so many unknown variables that are causing fear, it takes little effort to do the small things to lessen the burden for others – whether it is by wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, being extra aware of proximity to others, reaching out and checking in on those who live along – there are countless ways that we can exercise Godly wisdom, as we seek to learn and grow in His love and grace. We cannot control what is going on, but we can control how we respond to it. May we ever pursue Godly wisdom, so that we may love purely, be filled with peace, be considerate and teachable, full of love, and do away with prejudice and hypocrisy in any form. Let love lead us in all that we say and do, so that our very lives give glory to You.

 

Wisdom from heaven, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

What I seek to find;

It’s pure, peace-loving,

Considerate, kind.

Gentle and willing,

With a helping hand;

Fending off judgment,

Love’s beautiful plan.

Full of God’s mercy,

Overflowing grace;

Blessings to pour out,

Accepting embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your wisdom all-knowing, perfect and full of mercy and grace. Thank You that You love us all the same; for we are each Your created. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or responded with love, grace, mercy, kindness, peace, or have lacked consideration or willingness to listen and learn. Forgive our prejudices and hypocrisy in any form. Teach us to seek You for Your wisdom, so that we may live and love according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us best. Lead us with Your wisdom, so that love is evident in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to walk in Your wisdom, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His. – Job 12:13

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.

 

In kindness reach out, wp-15876457419175102346464464401560.jpg

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