Always Love

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God is love. This perfect sort of love comes from Him alone. We are flawed and frail and fallen; He is good, gracious and merciful. When we seek the Lord first, He deposits these things within us, and grants us the capacity to protect, trust, hope, and persevere in love. In our broken humanity, we will never be flawless in our delivery. However, God is. When we choose to love God and love people as we are called and designed to do, we become better equipped to protect, trust, hope and persevere, as His love leads us in every area of our life that we grant Him access. The more we give God room, the more we become aware of the hope, security, and overcoming, lasting love that is found in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord with our whole heart, so that we too, may love in a way that creates a safe place of shelter, that never stops believing the best for others, never takes failure as defeat, and never gives up.

 

Our space of shelter, Life by Love Defined

When weary and worn;

He grants strength to move,

In Christ, hope’s reborn.

The One we can trust,

Protection in love;

He never gives up,

Our Help from above.

Even through the times,

When we can’t shake fear;

His presence surrounds,

To rise, persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we begin to understand the power of love. Thank You that Your love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Thank You that the more we walk with You, the better we are able to love as You love us. Forgive us for the times that we have been lacking in our love. Continue to teach us how to love like You. Show us practical and tangible ways to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we always trust and hope in You, as You protect us and provide for us, all that we need through Your overwhelming and unending love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

Protect Well Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TPT)

 

The condition of our hearts is of utmost importance, for from them flows everything we think, say and do. As time is intentionally invested with God, He refines our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The more care we place into guarding our hearts from taking in what does not belong, the better the condition of our inmost being, and consequently, the more life-giving our words and deeds become. May we ever guard our hearts so that light, life and love are the things that flow out of our lives.

 

Protect well your heart, Protect Well Your Heart

Give care to each thought;

For from deep within,

Our affections are sought.

If we take in good,

Seek after the Lord;

The same flows from us,

All grace He affords.

Pursue with intent,

God and His great grace;

Allow Him to reign,

As love shapes our ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and seek You to guard our hearts, You protect and refine us to better reflect Your love to the world. Thank You that in You, there is an overflow to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anything other than Your truth to have a voice in our lives. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be protected and directed by the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to make room for what You are doing in us to overflow through love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek Your guidance in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Forgive in Love and Let Go

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Love and friendship thrive when we walk in forgiveness, but fail when we hold grudges and choose not to move on. Not one of us are perfect, and we all are in need of grace. God, in His goodness and perfect love, grants us grace and forgiveness as we ask, and remembers our sins no more. He does not remind us of our failures or past mistakes, but rather extends encouragement and builds us up. We too, are called to do the same. Faults and mistakes are not the same as intentional harm. Though we are always called to forgive, we must be wise as we move forward in love. Sometimes love has to part ways and take a different path to stay safe; body, heart, mind and soul. Most often, our relationships prosper as we forgive faults and failures, moving forward in love as we are called to do. We all fall short and desperately need grace. What a treasure when we have love and friendship that forgive faults and love us where we are, as we are. May we choose to forgive in love, letting go of the past and moving forward, allowing each new day to be a fresh start.

 

To love is a choice, Confidence in Christ

It chooses forgive;

Looks past others faults,

Loves well and lets live.

Love does not hold on,

To mistakes gone by;

Instead looks forward,

Brings grace into life.

The strongest of bonds,

Are formed by His grace;

Forgiving in love,

Completely embraced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive our faults and failures and do not remind us of them over and over again. Thank You that when You forgive, it is finished. Thank You that You show us what it means to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked forgiveness, or have brought things back up that needed to be left in the past. Teach us how to forgive and move forward, releasing what was into Your hands. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, come to know and understand Your forgiveness and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to forgive in love and let go. Amen.

 

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

 

It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:5

 

True Love Forgives

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

 

Forgiveness is an essential element of loving well. Jesus does not look at us and determine at some point that we have reached our quota of sin, and He suddenly will no longer forgive; therefore, we are called to do the same for those around us. That being said, we must use wisdom as we navigate. If someone is intentionally causing harm, we are capable of forgiving without remaining in a position to continue to be in harm’s way. Forgiveness is far more easily carried out with some, than with others. To forgive is to let go of our anger, cease resentment, and give up all claim on rights to retaliate or recover what has been lost. It is to extend pardon and release the burden, whether the offender has asked to be forgiven or not. “…Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) If we want to truly live and love as God has called us, we must forgive in the same way that He forgives each of us. May we be encouraged and empowered by the goodness and grace of God to go forth and forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven.

 

If we truly love, The Favor of Forgiveness

By grace, we’ll forgive;

Release each other,

With true pardon, give.

For no one’s perfect,

All in need of grace;

To rise, get better,

And walk in God’s way.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Grant strength to forgive;

Choose love lavishly,

As His grace we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved and forgave us, before we were even repentant. Thank You that it is Your kindness that leads us to repentance. Thank You that You call us to extend the same forgiveness to those around us that You so lavishly extend to us. Forgive us for the times that we struggle to forgive, or have to do so over and over again. Show us how to place all in Your hands. Teach us how to navigate offenses according to Your perfect love. Lead us to love and forgive those around us in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to forgive others, whether they ask or not, and move forward in love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Sharing Shoulders

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

It is overwhelmingly obvious that God’s very best plan for us is to be invested in community. What I have discovered, is that the more I invest my heart, my time, and my willingness to be transparent, the more burdens are divided and overcome. This is true in my marriage, family, and in close friendships. The imagery of shouldering each other’s burdens is powerful, as it is a reminder to walk alongside and help bear the weight. In college, I was on our crew team. When we carried our racing shell down the hill to the dock, it was not a heavy burden if each rower stepped up and helped shoulder the weight. However, if members were missing, slacking off, or slow to get to the boathouse, the weight of the boat in our shoulders became extraordinarily taxing. It is no wonder we are called and commanded to help each other. The hope is that none become too heavily weighed down, as every heavy burden is shared. Sadly, the caveat is that the sharing of burdens is only possible if people are known. Community is key. To love people well, we need to know people and be known. May we ever invest in those whom Christ has placed in our community, so that we may love well and help shoulder one another’s burdens in accordance to God’s law of perfect love.

 

To walk side-by-side,img_2019-10-23_03-59-095236091504307344571.jpg

Or move hand-in-hand;

Helping each other,

Is what the Lord planned.

We are created,

For community;

To know and be known,

Let love be what’s seen.

Help one another,

With burdens we bear;

For weight divided,

Doable when shared.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear our burdens alone, nor are we to watch others struggle through theirs. Thank You that we have been created to be in community. Thank You that as we invest and know one another, we are equipped to help each other carry the weight of whatever comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we have attempted to shoulder our burdens alone, or have neglected to walk beside one whom You are calling us to help shoulder a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your nudging. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we would be in the sort of community that walks side-by-side and hand-in-hand. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to grant us strength to have the shoulders needed to be the spouse, parent, family member and friend that You call us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Hands that Uphold

So do not fear, for I am with You; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

 

As my mom, sister and I have navigated the last three months, we have had to do so with no previous experience nor understanding, but rather it has been a matter of having to work together and trust big. God has been with us and provided the strength that we have needed to take each new step along the way. As we all are preparing for the next leg of mom’s journey, I know there is a natural inclination to worry and perhaps be a bit fearful. This morning’s verse is quite timely, as last evening when I spoke to my mom and sister, I could hear the underlying anxiousness in their voices as we spoke of details of mom’s move to Megan’s. I too, share their fears, especially being away right now. However, I have to look at the journey thus far, and recognize how God has held us up and provided the perfect people and plan each step of the way. If God has been with us and for us since day one, why would that change now? His perfect love casts out fear and grants us the strength to do all that is required. May we look to Him and set aside fear, trusting that He will be our strength and guide, every step of our journey.

Yesterday, mom had an appointment at the anti-coagulation clinic and speech therapy. Her appointment at the clinic was great, as it was only twenty minutes and her specialist is fantastic. Speech was shorter than usual in the afternoon, but the work accomplished was equal to that of a regular session. On the home front for me, I was able to run in the morning, get to a hair appointment mid-day, and then meet with our tax guy to finally take care of some paperwork that was long needing my attention. We were able to go to dinner as a family, and then return home to pack, relax and get to bed early, as my Viking and I are off to the airport in a few short hours for our anniversary adventure.

May we all place our concerns in the hands that are great enough to hold them, and trust Him to be our strength as we enjoy the blessings of each brand-new day.

 

Because God’s with us, img_2019-07-19_04-21-22145971198397462065.jpg

We need not choose fear;

Do not be dismayed,

For the Lord is near.

He will be our strength,

In our time of need;

Uphold and guide us,

In love, He will lead.

So, trust in the Lord,

Always He is near;

To lead us in love,

And calm all our fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us and never leave us on our own. Thank You that You are always near. Thank You that we can always trust our lives in Your hands. Forgive us for our fears and worries when the weight of the world seems to close in. Teach us to places all in Your hands, as You are ready to carry the weight and strengthen our hearts so that we are able to do abundantly more than we ever thought possible. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and supports where fear and worry wants to overwhelm. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your mighty hands. 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

 

Perfect Love Made Visible

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has ever 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)

Delightfully loved ones, if He loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes His permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in Him, and His love is brought to its full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, TPT)

 

Though no one has seen God, His perfect love is made visible through those who love God and love one another. Not one of us is perfect, but we can be vessels of perfect love. Perfect love is complete, everlasting, and does not have qualifications to give or receive. The more we come to know and love God, the more completely we are equipped to love others, according to His good and perfect will. May we ever seek the Lord and His perfect love, so that we will grow in His likeness to love as He loves us.

 

Because we are loved,

Come with me

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

So too, shall we give;

To all whom we meet,

His love ever lives.

Though none are perfect,

God’s love truly is;

As we love like Him,

Love given is His.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May we choose to love,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are perfect love. Thank You that as we seek You and come to know You more, we are equipped to love completely, according to Your perfect plan. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or not chosen love to lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would operate out of the lavish love that You give to us, extending the same to others. Show us how to love well, each person we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You with our whole heart, so that we too, may love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18

More Than Anything, Choose Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV) 

Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, CEB) 

Most of all, love each other as if your life depends on it. Love makes up for practically anything. – (1 Peter 4:8, MSG) 

 

We are called to love one another deeply, sincerely, as if our very life depended on it. The forgiveness that comes as a result of genuine love, makes peace possible and creates a culture within us to care well for others. Our capacity to love grows exponentially as we understand and accept the love that God has for us, individually. May we seek the Lord and receive all that He has to offer, so that we may go forth and love deeply, as love makes up for practically anything. 

 

More than anything, Enter With Thanksgiving

We need to choose love; 

From a sincere heart, 

Grace shall rise above. 

Love knows forgiveness, 

So freely, forgives; 

Grants hope to others, 

To rise in grace, live. 

What we are given, 

We often return; 

Let us seek God’s love, 

So perfect love’s learned. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love, as love covers over and forgives a multitude of sin. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You have not already done for us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld forgiveness or love toward another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on Your grace and goodness to fill us and equip us to love at all times, even when it is difficult to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your unending goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to love deeply, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

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