Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. 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. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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

Be Filled With Kindness

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. – (Hosea 11:4, NIV) 

A despondent person deserves kindness from his friends, even though he strays from the fear of the Highest One. – (Job 6:14, VOICE) 

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE) 

The Lord is righteous in everything He does; He is filled with kindness. – (Psalm 145:17, NLT) 

Kindness is synonymous with benevolent, generous, charitable, sympathetic, compassionate, and tender. The act of being kind, or operating with kindness is to see others where they are and choose to love as God loves us. The four verses that I recorded above, demonstrate a variety of ways to show kindness. Hosea compares kindness to caring for kids – loving and feeding them. Job highlights that kindness is not about giving based on the behavior of the recipient, but rather is a choice to give as God gives. David, in the Psalms, talks about God’s kindness satisfying us to the point where we ought to sing with joy and celebrate the life we have been given. He goes on further to identify that everything the Lord does is filled with kindness. We have a standard set before us as to how we ought to operate in kindness. Kindness sees need and acts upon it in love. I love when popular culture grabs onto something biblical and runs with it. “Be kind” and “Choose kindness” are but a few of the phrases that one can find on t-shirts, posters and mugs, as a battle cry to humanity. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and a way demonstrate God’s fruitfulness in our lives. As we choose to extend kindness to those around us, we are making God’s love tangible to those who may not know Him. In this long season of uncertainty, there is plenty of room for kindness to be extended. School is going to begin as never before, and parents, students and teachers alike, have reservations and fears, as there are so many questions that need to be answered to successfully navigate it all. The same remains true for businesses, jobs, and making ends meet for so many. Everywhere we look, there is room for kindness. Though we cannot do or be all things, we each can choose to be kind. Kindness may look different to each person that we opt extend it, yet the heart behind each act of kindness must be to love as God loves us. Sometimes, it is simply asking someone how they are doing, and then really listening to their reply. Other times, it is seeing a need and meeting it. Always, kindness is a reflection of a heart of love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best be kind to everyone we encounter. 

May true kindness rule, 

And reign in our hearts; 

Let us act in love, 

Each choose do our part. 

In spaces where kind, 

Is needed the most; 

Help our words and deeds, 

Show Your heart is close. 

Close in our chaos, 

Our spaces of need; 

As kindness brings peace, 

If in love, we lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kindness leads us to repentance, which ultimately brings change and beautiful new. Thank You that You show us again and again how we are able to be kind and extend kindness where it is needed the most. Forgive us for the times that we have not opted to be kind. Show us how to choose kindness in every interaction, word and deed. Lead us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be kind to all. 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 

Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself 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)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13