Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself up for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.- (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

The Power in Partnerships

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, HCSB)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

It is better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, MSG)

I love how practical these words are to all. I know this to be true, and can attest to the rewards of working together in a partnership. At work, being on a grade level team for the subject I teach makes a world of difference. Together, we can make meaning of the curriculum and plan together the small steps to reach the end goal. In doing so, the load is shared and the burden is lessened. In marriage, we each bring different strengths to the partnership, and together, we can accomplish far more than we could alone. One simple example is when we need to do yard work. For one person to complete the job, it would take several hours. However, when my Viking and I share the work, we often can complete the task within an hour. Additionally, as we both work and contribute to expenses and savings, we are afforded the blessing of being able to take vacation. God is good, and when we seek Him to lead us to spaces where we can work together and share the load, we discover strength is multiplied and there are great blessings that come from partnering with people to accomplish necessary tasks. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to connect with those whom we are given to work beside, and may the pairing and sharing be a blessing to all.

Together we rise,

Accomplish great things;

Working together,

More strengths we can bring.

For work divided,

Is better a task;

When shared together,

We give and get back.

Lord, lead us to work,

Alongside others;

To share with the load,

As overcomers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that as we pair up with those around us to accomplish tasks, the work is divided and the reward is blessings. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to do things alone that You intended to be shared. Show us who and where we can walk alongside to work together and get things done. Lead us to love like You, so that we support, encourage, and challenge each other to do what You have for us to do and become who You have created us to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with those whom You have placed in our lives to do what we are called to do. Amen.

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

But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

Value Each Other

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV)

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Faithful Foundations

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, NIV)

Your kingdom is built on truth and justice. Love and faithfulness are servants before Your throne. – (Psalm 89:14, ERV)

Your glorious throne rests on a foundation of righteousness and just verdicts. Grace and truth are the attendants who go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, TPT)

God is all about righteousness and justice, as love and faithfulness are wherever God is invited. The struggle in this is that too many place their own spin on the truth and what is right and just becomes skewed. Grace and truth accompany God, and are evident in those who earnestly seek Him. Though in our human condition we will never get it all right on our own, with Christ, we can be refined and raised up to more clearly reflect the foundation that He intended all along. May we ever pursue the Lord and His heart so that we may walk humbly, do justly, and love mercy as we were meant to do.

The kingdom of God,

Is loving and just;

Righteousness shall lead,

In truth among us.

The challenge in this,

We must choose pursue;

The Lord’s very best,

In all that we do.

Let righteousness lead,

So justice may reign;

In truth persevere,

And love shall remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You are loving and faithful always. Forgive us for the times that our decisions, words or actions lacked alignment with Yours. Teach us to walk humbly in pursuit of You and Your heart for all, to act justly in all things and at all times, and to love mercy in the same way that You love and extend mercy to us. Lead us to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to refine our hearts to more clearly reflect Yours. Amen.

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

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

So Much More

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – (Luke 3:16, NIV)

John’s answer to this was, “I baptize you in water, but there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” – (Luke 3:16, ERV)

But John made it clear by telling them, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. He is supreme. In fact, I’m not worthy of even being His slave. I can only baptize you in this river, but He will baptize you into the Spirit of holiness and into His raging fire.” – (Luke 3:16, TPT)

As we have begun to march our way through December, I have decided to join in and read the corresponding chapter of Luke each day, leading to Christmas eve. This morning, as I read through Luke 3, verse sixteen stood out to me as a reminder of how we ought to view the season. In this season of Advent, the waiting for “The Arrival”, there is a powerful opportunity to look back on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Even before Jesus began His ministry, there were indicators along the way that pointed out just how powerful and significant Jesus would be. John, the cousin of Jesus, had been raised up to faithfully follow God, and grew in wisdom and boldness as he faithfully taught and baptized all who were ready to hear and follow after God. Despite his following, John always pointed people to look forward to Jesus and the mighty power He would hold. In the same way, we ought to fix our eyes on Jesus, as He came to us as a baby, but returned to heaven as our Eternal King. May we marvel at God’s goodness this season, as He sent His Son to save us so that we might know the power of His Spirit within and among us.

The good we see now,

Is merely a glimpse;

Of what is to come,

That yet to exist.

Our hope, heavenward,

Where light and love dwell;

Let our hearts choose Him,

As we’re loved so well.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to dwell among us and show us the love and power, goodness and hope that is found in You. Forgive us for losing sight of the reason for the season. Teach us to look at the entire picture, not just the snapshot of a baby in a manger. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and study Your word to better grasp the goodness held in life with You. Amen.

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

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. – John 16:13

Gentle Presence

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, NIV) 

Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. – (Philippians 4:5, ERV) 

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE) 

The Voice translation resonates the most clearly with me, as the people I have known who have demonstrated God’s love in practical and tangible ways, have a gentle nature that makes me aware of the Lord’s nearness. Peace pours out from a gentle and kind spirit, and love begets love. Because God is always with us, we are loved and equipped in such a way, that we may have a gentle nature, even in spaces where we have to utilize great strength. Gentleness does not mean weak, but rather it is the strength to extend kindness in love, even when it seems counterproductive. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. The more we pursue Him, the greater our desire to love as He loves; for He sees all of His creation through His lens of love. Imagine if all of us chose to allow our gentleness to be evident to all. Kindness and love would become the standard mode of operation, and God’s love would be abundantly clear all around us. May we ever seek the Lord to fill and lead us, so that His gentleness in us may be obvious. 

Lord, teach us, show us, 

To be gentle, kind; 

To love as You love, 

So Your peace we’ll find. 

Your nearness to us, 

The strength that we need; 

To walk in Your grace, 

And follow Your lead. 

Grant us eyes to see, 

How gentleness spreads; 

The more that we love, 

Do as Your word says. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love with a gentleness like Yours. Thank You that You provide the strength we need to be gentle and kind. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our own ego, hurt or frustration to dictate how we respond to those around us, rather that choosing to respond gently in love. Show us how to walk in Your gentleness and love so that all those around us may be aware of the greatness of Your grace and the beauty of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and wisdom to live out our days with a heart set on being gentle and kind. Amen. 

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

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1 

Grace, Love and Fellowship

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV) 

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV) 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE) 

Grace, love and fellowship – who doesn’t need these? I love that Paul ended each of his letters in similar fashion, expressing his desire for God’s best to be granted to all. Right now, in this space of so much uncertainty and disruption from the norm, I am forever grateful for each of these three things that are freely given by God. Every day, I am abundantly aware of my need for grace. With so much new and such long days, I do not always react or respond in the way that I ought to. His grace picks me up and dusts me off, and His love encourages me to press on. As for the fellowship, it is amazing that no matter how I feel, I know that I am never truly alone. The promised presence of God sustains and covers me. May we ever seek the Lord, for His grace and love are poured out upon those who seek Him, and His presence is promised always. 

Wherever you are, 

In all that you do; 

May blessings pour out, 

As you seek the truth. 

It is in that space, 

Grace and love are found; 

God’s peaceful presence, 

Comes close and surrounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that exhortation of Paul to people everywhere is the same heart that You have for us all. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the nearness and presence of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize all that You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may receive all that You offer. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that Your grace, love and nearness may be made known through our very being. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the grace, love and fellowship that You lovingly provide. Amen. 

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Confident Trust

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

 

Though the last six weeks have often times felt like an eternity, I am assured and have faith, that our current circumstances will not last forever. I have confident hope that though I cannot yet see an end in sight, there is one. Incredibly, with God, we can be confident now in His presence AND in all that is yet to come. Though we do not see Him, the evidence of His existence is all around us. It takes but a moment of observing creation and His created, to recognize His divine handiwork on display. May we seek the Lord to grow our faith, so that we might have confident hope – absolute conviction, in the realities that we have yet to see.

 

Now faith is the hope, wp-1588337487563707789523742906399.jpg

In what I can’t see;

A confident trust,

In what’s yet to be.

For God grows in us,

Hope to rest assured;

That what’s yet to come,

A future secured.

Secure in goodness,

Lavished in His grace;

Ongoing presence,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have faith, a confident hope, in all that is yet to come, even though we cannot see the how or when that stands between now and what lies ahead. Thank You that Your presence is available always. Forgive us for our frustrations and faith that falters when the road becomes extra-long or rough. Teach us to trust Your more so that our faith will grow, as we know that our ultimate hope is held in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways that offer hope in uncertain spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You, confident and secure, knowing that You lovingly hold our future in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. – Psalm 37:3

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