A Life of Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

The old adage that actions speak louder than words is true. When we are shown love over and over again, we are secure and confident in that love far more than from those who speak love or about love, but do not have actions that align. Some of the best ways to show love are displayed through living out the fruit of the Spirit. Love is patient and kind, it is humble, it honors others, it looks out for others, it is gentle and forgiving. Love celebrates the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (See 1 Corinthians 13) It is the people that surround me and show me these things that assure my heart that I am loved, seen and known. This weekend alone, I have had several friends reach out with messages and texts to check in and encourage me as I wait on a surgical date. It is the small acts of kindness, the reaching out that remind my heart of God’s goodness and love. May we ever seek to pattern our lives after Jesus, and may love be our true way of life. 

Lord, help us to make,

Love our way of life;

Kindness extended,

An end brought to strife.

Grant us Your patience,

So love’s what we choose;

For one another,

As Your love is proved.

Help us see the ways,

Where we can show love;

May our actions point,

To how Your heart loves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us that love is an active way of living, not a theory or mere words. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not been in alignment with what we know love to be. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to truly love those around us. Lead us to live a life of love that chooses to reach out and make love tangible for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to make love a way of life. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Love Matters Most

Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. – (Colossians 3:14, HCSB)

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG) 

This is a good reminder as we go into our final Friday of the school year. Final project and assignments and make-up work is all due today, and I imagine for some, will be a stressful day. The best way to approach the day is with love. Through God’s love we can be patient and kind, gentle and protective, full of hope, and persevere. As we extend these things to those around us, calm comes and hope rises. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect love so that all whom we encounter may feel His goodness and grace.

The garment we wear,

That matters the most;

Is not external,

But goodness exposed.

A smile, a kind word,

Are such simple things;

And yet their impact,

True joy they can bring.

For goodness and love,

Are what help hope grow;

Making value known,

As His love we show.

So, look for places,

To give love away;

Choose kindness and grace,

Let love lead the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to put on the garment of love. Thank You that to do so is to choose to allow Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Forgive us for the times and spaces that our words and deeds have been lacking in love. Show us how to love everyone around us well, so that Your heart is made clear through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we adorn ourselves with Your lavish love so that we can go forth and choose to love those around us well. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

The Process of Perfect Love

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, HCSB)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love changes our hearts and transforms our minds so that we too, might love as He loves. As humans, we are subject to sin and falling short, so the process of being transformed is one that requires an entire lifetime. That being said, it is a process that is well worth the while. When we allow God’s love to reconstruct our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own, we have the opportunity to show God’s love to all those around us. In this space of loving as God loves us, we can become His representatives of what love ought to be. The challenge is that when we do not choose to act in love, we are responding as the world does, and discrediting the heart of God for others. I say that not to bring shame, but rather to encourage each of us to seek to love God and love people (His creation) as He loves us. We all fall short, but what we do with our shortcomings makes all the difference. Are we quick to apologize and make amends, or do we ignore and let things go that can create a divide? The more I seek the Lord, the more I see opportunities all around me to show evidence of His love. Love is patient and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love never ends and has set before us the way to love well. (see 1 Corinthians 13) May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us might experience for themselves the goodness of God.

The love of the Lord,

Is greatest of all;

For it lifts us up,

Each time that we fall.

It brushes us off,

And fills us again;

Overwhelms with good,

As each day begins.

Press in, keep seeking,

For God’s always found;

Perfect love won’t fail,

Hope in Him is sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You fill and equip us to love like You as we seek You and depend on You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and failures when we did not choose love. Lead us in Your kindness so that we may love as You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your perfect love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us as You intended. Amen.

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

This is My command. Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

To Recognize What is Real

But when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:49-50, NIV)

But the followers saw Jesus walking on the water. They thought He was a ghost, and they started screaming. It scared them all to see Him. But He spoke to them and said, “Don’t worry! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:49-50, ERV)

When they all saw Him walking on the waves, they thought He was a ghost and screamed out in terror. But He said to them at once, “Don’t yield to fear. Have courage. It’s really me – I Am!” – (Mark 6:49-50, TPT)

Whenever I read the miraculous accounts of the things that Jesus did, I try to imagine what it might have been like to be present. In this story, I envision being part of the crew that is struggling to row to the other side of the lake after the sun has set. The wind is blowing against them, and they  are rowing with all their might. Suddenly, in the midst of the wind and waves, they see Jesus walking on the water. Such an image does not make sense, as they had left ahead of Jesus, while He had remained behind on the shore. I likely would have been rubbing my eyes and straining to see if what I was viewing was real. Likening the scene to seeing a ghost, is relatable. Fear clearly gripped the disciples, as they could not process what they were seeing. Jesus, in His loving and patient ways, let the disciples know who He was and that they need not fear. Despite all that had been witnessed, it took Jesus himself to speak and remind them of who He was and what that empowered Him to do to calm the fear that had risen in their hearts. May we ever remember who calms our storms and brings peace and comfort whenever we turn and listen to Him.

When waves are crashing,

And we feel alone;

Recall the power,

That through Him is shown.

He’ll walk on water,

And tell us His Name;

Bring peace where we are,

And love us the same.

We need never fear,

Despite what we see;

For He is present,

For you and for me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You are present to help us and grant us Your perfect peace. Forgive us for how quickly we forget Your incredible faithfulness and provision when trials come our way. Teach us to remember Your goodness and faithfulness that is eternal, so that we would ever place our trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness both practically and tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for You in the wind and waves and trust You in spaces where You are difficult to see. Amen.

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

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

The Power of Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, TPT)

 

Love is a powerful force, created by God, to bring people together. Not only are we commanded to love, but His word unpacks for us, how to love like Him. To say that love is patient, means that love needs to contain the capacity for endurance. It is not to have an on/off switch based on circumstance, but rather love endures through all things, at all times. Love is kind, is an expectation that love will choose to be considerate, helpful, gentle and from a tendency toward tenderness. A love that does not envy, is one that rejoices in the successes and blessings of others, rather than wishing they were their own. True love does not need to place their own accomplishments on parade, nor promote self, for their heart, their love and their kindness speak for their character. This one is one that I witness far too often in middle school, and it is one of my greatest frustrations, as love does not dishonor, belittle nor disrespect others. To be easily angered is to have a short fuse, and God, in His grace, will replace the short wick with a long one, if we depend on Him. Lastly, love not keeping record of wrongs, is a curious call. Of course, we are not to hold grudges, and we must forgive, for unforgiveness is toxic to the holder, not the offender. However, it is impossible in our own strength to not be at least a bit influenced by the treatment we have received in the past from others. To love the way in which God calls us to love, we need Him, every moment of every day. We are broken and flawed; He is holy and perfect and pure. If we rely on Him, we can learn to love as we are meant to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart for others, so that we love as He first loved us.

 

Lord, help us to love, Diligent for All of Our Days

Be patient and kind;

Never to envy,

Keep others in mind.

Lead us to honor,

Each other in love;

Respect and forgive,

Love as You first loved.

Help us to let go,

Of wrongs of the past;

Forgive, move forward,

With Your love that lasts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and instruct us to love. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love the way that we are called to love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love, as our words, thoughts or actions countered the very things You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we walk in love according to Your instructions. Show us how to love patiently and with kindness, and keep envy, pride and anger far from us. Help us to meet those around us with the love that is needed most, even when their words or actions make us want to run the other direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love the way that You are calling us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Walking in Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

 

Love is a choice that we have to make, day in and day out. It is not dependent on feelings or actions done for or against us, but rather a decision to love others as we are loved by God. He is patient and kind with us. God is not easily angered by our short-comings, and He does not keep a record of our wrongs. When we ask for forgiveness, it is done. If we are to act in the same way, we must have an “otherly” outlook. Choosing to be patient and kind, even when we aren’t feeling it, is being intentional to love. We are not meant to envy others, but rather to celebrate their blessings beside them. Everything good that comes our way is a blessing bestowed upon us, not something to boast about. If we keep score when others hurt us, we are not walking in forgiveness. Yes, we must be wise and not remain in circumstances where there is intentional repeated offense against us, but neither are we to keep stewing on hurts. Our charge is to love and forgive, in the same way we are loved and forgiven by Christ. May we ever look to the Lord to lift us up, so that we may choose to love others in the same way that we are loved by Him.

 

Keep not a record,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Of others offense;

Instead choose to love,

When love makes no sense.

For the love of God,

Is patient and kind;

We are not worthy,

Of His love defined.

Love’s not dependent,

On what we choose do;

A beautiful gift,

Where He makes us new.

Called to do likewise,

To love anyway;

Forgive grievances,

Choose love each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are a work in progress. Thank You that You love us through our highs and lows, good and bad, and You teach us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have been rude or proud, impatient or unkind, or held onto an offense against us that You intended for us to release. Show us how to walk in love, in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to walk away. Teach us to trust You more, as You are love defined. Lead us to love those around us with kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love others in the same way that You so faithfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7