Purposed To Love

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – (Luke 6:37, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. Don’t condemn others, and you will not be condemned. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” – (Luke 6:37, ERV)

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.” – (Luke 6:37, MSG)

If Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but rather to save it, how much more ought we do our best to follow His example? We are told in the book of Luke how to follow Jesus’ example. What we give, is the very thing that we will be given in return. We celebrate Easter to remember that rather than being judged, Christ took our place and withstood the punishment we all deserve. He died, so we might live. Incredibly, in His power, He rose again and ascended to be seated at the right hand of the Father. In His goodness, Jesus loves, listens and moves on our behalf. There is nothing we have done to deserve His love, yet He loves anyway. It is our call to love in the same way. We cannot judge, condemn and harbor unforgiveness and simultaneously love. May we ever seek the Lord to learn how to love best, and turn to Him every time that we struggle with our opinions of others. To see people through Christ’s lens, is to see and understand the beauty in every being. God created because He loved, He sent His Son, because He loved, and Jesus took the punishment that we all deserved, again, because He loved.

Don’t judge nor condemn,

Or hold onto hurts;

Such things block the way,

From seeing true worth.

For how we choose give,

Will be given back;

Let love be our choice,

Give where there is lack.

Because of Jesus,

We each have been shown;

What God’s love looks like,

He has made it known.

Each word of kindness,

Every good deed;

All love we have felt,

God meeting our need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to save the world, not to condemn it. Thank You Jesus, for demonstrating what love ought to be. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our hearts to entertain judgement, condemnation and unforgiveness. Teach us to love and embrace ALL people, recognizing the incredible creations that You have made. Every person on the planet was formed and planned with purpose. Show us how to better walk in love, so that all may experience Your goodness, kindness and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek to grow in love and allow You to move and change our view of others to mirror Your own. Amen.

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

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save it through Him. – John 3:17

Trust Completely

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

Well, my suspicions were confirmed, and not only did I break my toe, but I broke it in two places. For me, this is a space where I find myself having to choose trust over and over again, as my hope and goal of running a marathon in June seems to have an enormous obstacle in the way. That being said, I know that God can do the miraculous, and I will continue to trust in Him. In a few short weeks, my friend and I were able to build up mileage from a couple of miles, to confidently running nine. If this healing process takes four weeks, we will still have more than two and a half months to build to the distance necessary to accomplish the goal. However, that is merely my human understanding, not His. Each day, I will choose again to seek and listen to His leading. I know not how this healing process will all  go, but I do know that God will be with me and will direct my steps. He knows the desires of my heart and will lead me in the way I am meant to go. My prayer is that recovery will be quick and I will be back to running in no time, yet even so, I will trust in Him. My deadlines and timelines are not His, and I will allow Him to lead. May we ever seek the Lord in all things and at all times, for He will be with us and lead us wherever we go.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

For He paves the way,

To what’s to become.

Lean not on what’s known,

But rather, seek Him;

He directs our path,

Through where things seem grim.

He can make a way,

Where it seems there’s none;

Our strength and our hope,

The most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You through all things. Thank You that You lead us and guide us on paths You make clear. Forgive us for our frustration and fears when obstacles seem insurmountable or our path becomes unclear. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they gain strength and perseverance to press forward to where You are leading. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You with all our heart and depend not on our limited understanding, but rather rely on You to lead us well. Amen.

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

An Otherly Outlook

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) 

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE) 

 

This passage is a reminder to conduct ourselves with an “otherly outlook. What this means is that we ought to consider others, not just self. As we operate in our daily lives, we need to value others – their opinions, interests, time, state of mind, and their entire existence. It does not mean that we have to agree with all that they think or do, but rather we must value the person and treat them accordingly. Humility listens and loves and honors others first. If our focus is on loving and valuing others, our own selfish tendencies are set aside. May we seek and depend on the Lord to lead us, as we look to His example to carry this out by loving and treating others with His very best in mind. 

 

In all that I do,

Peace Through Understanding

May I set aside; 

My own selfishness, 

That’s the cause of pride. 

Instead, help me seek, 

To see others first; 

To listen and love, 

Help each know their worth. 

May my sense of self, 

And view of others; 

Be seen through Your eyes, 

All sisters, brothers. 

For You showed us how, 

Jesus led the way; 

To do all in love, 

And extend Your grace. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love with others in mind. Thank You that through Him, we too, can love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas and pride have prevented us from loving others in the way in which You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we seek Your heart and eyes to be the lens through which we see the world. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates how much they are valued. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to let go of our own pride and agenda, and live lives that are otherly. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Peace Through Loving People First

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, NLT)

Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else. – (Romans 12:16, ERV)

Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, TLB)

 

We are called to be at peace with one another. One glimpse at the news, and the work that needs to be done becomes overwhelmingly apparent. What if each one of us began exactly where we are planted? In our neighborhood, our school, our workplace, our city? If each one of us treated everyone with value and respect, and recognized that all people have something to contribute, the political, economic, ethnic, religious, and whatever else separates one from another, could be celebrated and appreciated, rather than utilized to divide. Each one of us is infinitely valued and loved by God. If we are called to love as God loves, then why would we not do the same? May we seek the Lord for His heart for each other so that we may be at peace with one another, willing to be kind to all who cross our path, seeing each as one with infinite worth.

 

May we choose to live, Show the Love

Harmoniously;

Value each other,

With equality.

Each person offers,

What they have to bring;

From which we can learn,

And grow in new things.

Let us strive for peace,

Through kindness and love;

Give good to others,

Let grace be enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people of peace with one another. Thank You that peace does not mean that we have to agree on everything or view the world through the same lens, but rather it is a mutual respect for one another that loves, regardless of opinions and perspectives. Thank You for the areas in our life where we have seen and experienced such peace. Forgive us for the places where we have done anything to prevent peace from being present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love and listen above all else. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who see the world far differently than we do. May Your peace be present, even in the most unlikely of places. Help hurting hearts come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to best love and bring peace into the places where we find ourselves each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Commanded to Love

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NLT)

 

We are not only called to love one another; it is a command. If love were merely a feeling, it would not be something required of us. However, love is a choice. No matter how we feel, we must intentionally choose to love, even when it is difficult – for this is what God declares His disciples (all who faithfully follow Him) are to do. There is no better time than now to choose to love those around us. We do not have to share the same opinions, thought patterns, philosophies, political views, or even the same faith, to choose to love one another. As opinions contrary to our own fly, let us love anyway. When tempers flare, may we return gentleness and kindness in love. May we rise up and remember who has commanded us to love one another, and go forth in faithful obedience.

 

As we all gather,Enter With Thanksgiving

Join with love in mind;

It is our own choice,

To love and be kind.

For God does command,

Love one another;

Without conditions,

Sisters and brothers.

We are His children,

Created indeed;

May we view others,

As loved who have needs.

Despite what we get,

Let’s love anyway;

When we love as Christ,

Our grace shows the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not merely command us to love each other, but You sent Your Son to show us how to love, and to make the way for us to do so. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we can go and choose to love those around us. Forgive us for not choosing love, based on feelings or on what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend love according to Your will. Help us to love those who are difficult to love, so that they may experience Your loving kindness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others because we are loved by You. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Harmony Through Him

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. – (Romans 15:5, NLT)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

 

I love that God wants for us to live in complete harmony with one another, being like-minded in Him. That is not to say that we are meant to view the world through the same lens, nor to be in agreement on every minute detail, but rather, that our hearts ought to be set on loving God and loving people. If those two things are our priority, the places where we don’t agree, won’t really matter; as we can set aside our differences and choose to love. May we seek the Lord in all things, allowing Him to grant us the patience and encouragement necessary to persevere in the places where love may be difficult to give. Let His light lead us and His heart guide us, so that we may live in harmony with those whom He has places along our path.

 

For patience does come,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To all who choose ask;

Seek the Lord for strength,

To fulfill His task.

He’s asking of us,

To choose to love first;

Seek to understand,

Don’t assume the worst.

When we walk by faith,

Our hearts shall agree;

Where it matters most,

Granting harmony.

As His will is done,

Our hearts are set free;

To live and to love,

In community.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us patience and encouragement so that we may live in harmony with one another as You intend for us to do. Thank You that in order to do so, we need not be clones of one another, nor share the same interests or hobbies, but rather our hearts are meant to be for You and one another to be aligned with Your will. Forgive us for thinking that we have to see eye-to-eye on all things to live in harmony with each other. Teach us to celebrate our different strengths, interests and opinions, knowing that at the end of the day, loving You and loving each other is what matters most of all. Show us how to love You and one another with everything within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live in harmony with one another as You intend us to do. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23