Only Love Makes Love Known

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. – (1 John 4:7, NLT) 

Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child. And so everyone who loves knows God. – (1 John 4:7, ERV) 

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him. – (1 John 4:7, TPT) 

 

We are called to love each other. If we know and love God, we are equipped and empowered to love those around us. In fact, how we love people, is an outward sign of the inward condition of our heart and an indication of the love we understand from the Father. Our capacity to love well grows exponentially when we know that we are loved unconditionally. How much more does this hold true when we begin to grasp the kindness and grace that we are granted through our loving Heavenly Father? May we love one another well as we receive the love that God continually pours into all who seek Him. 

 

Let us each choose love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

One to another; 

It’s God’s intention, 

Sisters and brothers. 

For the love He gives, 

In us, ought to grow; 

To love others well, 

So everyone knows. 

Knows of His goodness, 

Understands His grace; 

Receives and gives love, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Help us to love one another the way that You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love in practical ways that make Your love tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your unending love, and seek You to show us how to love others best. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

To Encourage and Build Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, MSG)

 

Just as the Thessalonians were called and reminded to encourage and build one another up, (as they had already been doing) so too, we are called to do the same. It is incredible the difference that encouragement makes, even in the small things. The other day at school had been particularly long, as we were winding up a week of testing across campus. Kids were wild and tired of being assessed, and teachers were equally exhausted. At lunch, I happened to see a downcast look on a colleague’s face, so I said, “Hey, only two more Fridays!” Their whole demeanor shifted, and I walked away smiling at the thought as well. Interestingly, after I had eaten lunch, I wandered back through the office and heard different friends with whom I work, speaking the same words of encouragement to one another. Though it was not a spiritual truth being shared, it was a word of encouragement offered at the right moment, and its impact seemed to be a bit farther reaching than I would have imagined when the words were spoken. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and words to encourage and build each other up, for as we do, others too shall follow.

 

Let us encourage, Do Right and Build Up

Find ways to build up;

Pour into others,

And help fill their cups.

For as hope is built,

The same is passed on;

Each growing stronger,

New strength to hold on.

Go forth in His might,

Build up each other;

Together we rise,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of encouragement and You build us up. Thank You that You call us to be in community where we encourage one another and build each other up, per Your design. Forgive us for the times that we have been too caught up in our own chaos to look beyond ourselves to encourage and build up those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and words as to how to best encourage and build up those around us. Show us how to love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and ways to encourage and build up those whom You have placed around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Humility As We Invest

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)

 

There is little that is as uplifting as spending time with individuals who live according to these principles. To be in the company of humble people who honor others and are truly interested and care about those around them, is a joy. No matter how time is spent together, one can’t help but walk away feeling uplifted after keeping such company. This is the very sort of person that I desire to be to those around me. I have incredible examples to look to, and Jesus is our ultimate role model. May we seek Him and trust Him to lead us in His way, so that we may walk in humility, loving and honoring others more than ourselves, and be invested in the lives of those around us.

 

In all that we do,Believe Instead of Striving

Do not allow pride;

To dictate our way,

Where selfish resides.

Instead, be humble,

Choose to honor more;

Those who surround us,

Into their lives pour.

Opt to invest well,

To care for each life;

As pride goes away,

So too does all strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to give us the ultimate example of how to be humble and think of others first. Thank You Jesus for showing us how to invest and care well about the lives of others. Forgive us for not investing in others, or for being selfish as we get caught up and too busy in our own stuff. Show us how to prioritize people, so that we will walk in humility and care well for those around us. Teach us to love others as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how great You are and that we are nothing without You, as we go forth and invest well in the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

 

A Heart that is Willing

When one of the teachers of the law came and asked Jesus which of the commandments was most important, His response is what clearly guided His every day on earth, and likewise should do the same for us. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no command greater than these.” – (Mark 12:29-31)

 

Jesus not only modeled His commitment to love God and love people with His days, for He did also, unto His death. When praying in the garden, prior to His path to the cross, Jesus prayed the following: “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” – (Mark 14:36)

 

Jesus was willing to walk the hard and painful road unto the cross, to bear the brunt of all of our sin and shame. In Christ’s most difficult hours, He demonstrated His love and devotion to God and to all of us, despite His knowing the suffering He’d have to endure. His entire heart, soul, mind and strength were pelted with the pain of people who were steeped in the ugliness of sin. Jesus willingly took it all upon Himself so that we could have new life in Him. May we receive all that He has granted, and go forth loving God and loving people, with all that we are.

 

His heart was willing,Peace He Brings

to walk the hard road;

to endure all things,

that had been foretold.

For Jesus, He knew,

the price He would pay;

yet because He loved,

He chose anyway.

Christ showed us what love,

really ought to be;

our heart, soul and mind,

committed, set free.

For when we love God,

and our neighbors too;

Christ’s love is made known,

as His hope shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Jesus, thank You that You came to show us how to live life loving God and loving people. Thank You that You modeled the ultimate life of obedience unto the Lord. Thank You that we need only look to Your word to understand how we are meant to follow after Your own heart. Forgive us for not loving God or loving people as You intended for us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might love with abandon – unhindered by fear. Lead us to pour into the lives of those around us, as You so generously pour into ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we too are willing to love You and love people, with all that You have created us to be. Amen.

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

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