To Live and Love Well

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. – (Philippians 1:9, TLB)

Though this is from Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi, the message still resonates today. It is my prayer for myself and all those around me that our love will grow to overflowing, and that we would ever pursue knowledge and insight. God is gracious, and His love abounds more and more as He grants us insight and understanding of how deep and how wide His love is and how He has hand-crafted us to love well. Additionally, as we seek to know and understand more, He shows us more of who He is and how to care well for those around us. May we ever pursue the heart of God so that our love continues to grow as our understanding and insight expands.

May our love abound,

As we seek to grow;

Knowledge and insight,

To make His love known.

It’s through our pursuit,

That we come to know;

The depths of God’s love,

Then it overflows.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

And help us learn well,

The light of Your truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Paul’s prayer and exhortation to the Philippians is still relevant and applicable today. Thank You that as we seek You to lead us in love and grow our understanding and insight, You are faithful to show us more and more. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love and learn as You intended. Show us how to ever pursue Your heart and wisdom so that we may love out of the overflow that comes from knowing You. Teach us to love those around us with the same heart that You have for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made tangible. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your heart of love and Your wisdom and insight so that we may live and love well. Amen.

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

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Blessings of Grace

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – (John 1:16, NIV)

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – (John 1:16, ERV)

And from the overflow of His fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace! – (John 1:16, TPT)

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. (dictionary.com) Though we do not deserve it, God freely gives. In the same way that we are given such lavish grace, we are called to do likewise. The more we understand the grace upon grace that we have been given, the more we desire to give the same to those around us. Puppy training is an ongoing saga in our household. We have one extraordinarily intelligent and mischievous pup, and one that is super sweet, yet reactive to other dogs. Much grace is required to remain sane, as we work to train our fur babies to behave and peacefully coexist. When I take pause and think of the lavish grace that God has given and continues to give to me, I find that I am better equipped to be gracious to others. This holds true with the pups and with other humans, as each new day requires much grace. Though there is only One who perfected such grace, we can improve every day as we seek Him. May we ever look to the Lord, our incredible giver of grace, so that we too, may extend grace upon grace to those around us.

It’s freely given,

God’s great gift of grace;

Undeserved favor,

And welcome embrace.

Just as we receive,

We also should give;

Extending goodness,

Each day that we live.

Love that’s undeserved,

Is valued the most;

Beautiful blessings,

From heaven’s own Host.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love and give grace;

Embrace all others,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that You give to us all. Thank You that as we receive, we are equipped to give the same. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked grace in how we have interacted with others. Teach us to love and be full of grace with everyone we encounter. Show us how to love lavishly and without expectations of anything in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You lovingly give, and extend the same to all those around us. Amen.

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

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:2

Peace Makes a Way

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

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

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

When we allow the peace of Christ to come and dwell within us, we are equipped and empowered to be promoters of peace to those around us. It is by God’s grace that we are placed exactly where we are for this very season, and it is out of a heart of gratitude that we discover His peace and purpose for us. I had mixed feelings as I left campus yesterday. It was the last day of a long and challenging year, and my class load for next year was shared with me. Though I was thrilled to know that I will have three sections of art, the two sections of 8th grade English grieved my heart a bit. The grieving is over the loss of working on a fabulous team with dear friends with a curriculum that I finally feel like I know, yet the two ladies that I will be teaming with next year are incredible, so I do look forward to getting to know them better. Peace was disrupted by the thought of yet again, having to learn an all new curriculum, causing me to feel like a brand new teacher. This is a space that I have to trust in God’s grace, and allow His peace to cover me. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and grace and allow the peace of God to fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and be promoters of peace.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With Your perfect peace;

May all our concerns,

To You, be released.

As we choose let go,

You fill us with peace;

‘Til it overflows,

Anxieties cease.

All thanks unto You,

Throughout all our days;

Lead us in Your love,

As peace makes a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your perfect peace so that we can go and bring peace to those around us. Thank You that Your grace covers us and Your love fills us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed circumstances to steal the perfect peace You provide. Teach us to trust You with everything, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our cares and concerns and rely on You to provide our perfect peace. Amen.

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

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

Let Love Increase

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, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, ERV)

And may the Lord increase your love until it overflows toward one another and for all people, just as our love overflows toward you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, TPT)

Paul, in his letters to the church of Thessalonica, gave instructions and encouragement. The exhortation to allow the Lord to grow our love for one another is powerful. If each of us sought the Lord to increase our love and the love of those around us to overflowing, imagine how communities would thrive. May we seek the Lord to grow the love in us and those around us, and may we allow Him to lead us in every interaction.

May our love increase,

More and more each day;

For one another,

At work and at play.

Let us seek the Lord,

To raise up in us;

Love everlasting,

Like the Lord Jesus.

Pursue the Lord’s love,

So we grow to give;

Love overflowing,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow Your love in us as we seek You. Help us to depend on You to grow Your love in us and in those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in spaces where it was needed most. Show us how to love like You and how to encourage those around us in the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the lavish love You give to us and those around us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

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

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. 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

Come to the Fountain

May the God of all 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)

Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

God is our fountain of hope. His outpouring is constant and abundant, if only we allow ourselves to draw near. The more we allow His hope to flow over us, the greater our experience of His joy and peace though trusting Him becomes. Even more, as we receive what He offers, the same will overflow from us. To radiate hope is exactly the way that I want to live. This only transpires through trust in Him. The Holy Spirit in us allows hope to flow from us in abundance. May we ever draw near to God, who is our fountain of hope, so that we may extend the same to those around us.

The God of all hope,

A fountain that pours;

Grace overflowing,

Flings wide open doors.

The doors to His peace,

And abundant joy;

For where hope is held,

Goodness is employed.

Let’s soak in the hope,

As He grants us peace;

No matter what comes,

His joy is released.

Joy in the journey,

Hope for the long ride;

Peace in the knowing,

He’ll be by our side.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our fountain of hope that never stops outpouring. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit within us grants us peace and joy, no matter our circumstances. Forgive us for not drawing near to receive all that You offer, which in turn dulls the light within us. Teach us to continually draw near so that we may radiate the hope we have in You. Show us how to love all those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your hope brings the joy and peace that has been absent. Be glorified O God and continually draw us into Your presence so that we may soak in the goodness of Your love that grows eternal hope, abundant joy and perfect peace. Amen.

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

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:3

Blessed to Love

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, TPT)

By faith, we can grow in goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, devotion to God, kindness, mercy and love. Each of these attributes are in existence to help us love as we were called to love. To love God and love people, we need all of these things. Our faith directs and draws us in to seek the Lord. As we do, we grow in goodness and understanding, and are equipped with strength, self-control and patient endurance. With these things, our devotion and kindness grows, and love more easily flows from us. Everyday, I need a fresh supply of each of these. God is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him. Though we are flawed and fall short, we can continue to be devoted to the One who grows good things within us. As we grow, our lives pour out the overflow to all of those around us. My hope is that each day, there is less of me and more of Him. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more, so that we may love as we were designed to love.

Grow us, Lord Jesus,

In each of these things;

So we may love more,

Please tune our heart strings.

Goodness and knowledge,

And true self-control;

Faithful devotion,

Teach us to love well.

May perseverance,

Help us to press on;

Devoted and kind,

‘Til our days are gone.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In all that we do;

Let our lives reflect,

A love just like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are forever willing to grow, refine and empower us to love more like You. Forgive us for the times that we are reactive, rather than seeking You to lead us well. Teach us how to pursue You each day, so that we may grow more like You. Show us how to love as You love, with kindness, gentleness, mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow our hearts more like Yours so that we may love as You intended. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Intentional In Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” – (John 13:34-35, MSG)

It seems only appropriate that the verse of the day has to do with love on Valentine’s Day. In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called “Friendship Day”. I love that idea, as the love we have for those around us does not have to be romantic love. Friends, family, acquaintances and beloved ones are all among those with whom our love is meant to be shared. To love as we are loved by God is to lift up, encourage, bless, honor and strengthen those around us without any expectation of return. We are meant to choose to love out of the overflow that we have freely been given. May we be intentional in our obedience to God’s commands to love so that all may see Him through us.

Let’s love each other,

As the Lord loves us;

Freely outpouring,

As done by Jesus.

When we choose to love,

With grace, each other;

God’s love’s clearly shown,

One to another.

May we celebrate,

All that we’re given;

Generously give,

Each day we live in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generous and overwhelming love. Thank You that You call and command us to love those around us. Thank You that as we do, people see You and the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we should. Teach us to seek You and receive all that You offer so that we may love like You. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional to love well. Amen.

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

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Called to Peace and Praise

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

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

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

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

Lord, we surrender,

Our hearts unto You;

Bring peace to us all,

As grace makes us new.

May our lives give thanks,

For all that You are;

Present and peaceful,

Hope’s true open door.

Help us to reach out,

With thanks and with grace;

To love others well,

As we give You praise.

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

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

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