Life by Love Defined

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

These are words to live by, yet among the most challenging. The Passions Translation is particularly profound, as the “especially those who may try your patience” portion is the reality that confronts and challenges me most. As a middle school teacher, this is not difficult to find, and daily, I am afforded countless opportunities to put this into practice. Some days are more successful than others. Thankfully, I have a calm demeanor, so even when my patience is pushed past where it belongs, the momentary lack of love that I feel is not nearly as evident as it could be. That being said, I need Jesus every minute of every day to be humble and gentle, patient and loving, especially with those who try my patience. On my own, my inner thoughts would spew out in ugliness, rather than the still small voice within, that reminds me to breathe, and that kids need kindness and grace. May we seek the Lord and His goodness, so that we may be equipped to live humbly and gently, patiently accepting one another in love.

 

For we are all called, Life by Love Defined

Be humble and kind;

Extend others grace,

Life by love defined.

We must have patience,

That’s fueled by love;

The will to proceed,

Like the Lord above.

For what is our life,

If not led by love?

Our purpose is plain,

Forever choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You first loved us. Thank You that You give us specific instructions as to how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility or kindness, patience or acceptance through love. Teach us to trust and depend on You to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend patience and kindness, gentleness and acceptance. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to equip us to love as we were designed to 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

Blessings and Strength to the Seeking

Great blessings belong to those who depend on You for strength! Their heart’s desire is to make the trip to Your Temple. – (Psalm 84:5, ERV)

Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. – (Psalm 84:5, TLB)

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey. – (Psalm 84:5, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder that our blessings of peace, joy and contentment come when we seek the Lord for strength. When the desire of our heart is to spend time in His presence, we begin to treasure each day and find joy in the journey. That does not mean that each day is easy, or that we somehow suddenly skate through life; but it does determine our true Source of strength and hope and joy, which makes all of the difference as we navigate each new day. May we depend on the Lord for strength each day, and treasure the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father as He blesses us with His presence and His peace as we persevere through all things.

 

May we ever learn,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Of blessings we’ll find;

As we seek Your strength,

With soul, heart and mind.

Your great faithfulness,

Will always be found;

By those who choose seek,

Your grace is profound.

All that we shall need,

To keep keeping on;

Your blessings and strength,

Our hope and our song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength as we seek You. Thank You that You bless our hearts and lives with Your presence and Your peace as we pursue time with You. Thank You that we no longer have to make a pilgrimage to a holy place to find You, for You are wherever we are when we call on Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking Your strength in our struggles. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of strength and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

 

Known with Purpose

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, NIV)

He counts the stars and knows each of them by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He sets His stars in place, calling them all by their names. – (Psalm 147:4, TPT)

 

If God, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all that is, knows each star and calls it by name, how much more does He know us, His created? God is aware of even the seemingly most insignificant details; “And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) Love alone, drives such care and concern for who we are, and everything about us. He knows how we were knit together, and He has already called it “good”. Each one of us were born with a plan and a purpose – with gifts and talents to share with the world. Our charge is to seek Him to discover what we have been created for, and then to go forth, and do whatever it is, in love. As a teacher, especially as I wear my art teacher hat, I have the opportunity to help each student who enters my classroom discover that they are an artist. Some come in with a preconceived idea that they have zero artistic abilities, and I spend the entire semester working to help them discover that there are more mediums in art that drawing. Additionally, art is in the eye of the beholder. To one, Picasso is the most profound, whereas to another, Monet or Degas have been deemed the best. God set us all in place too, and He knows us each by name. His care goes far beyond the knowing; He loves so that we can become the very best version of ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we can live life in our strengths and purpose with love.

On the way back from a grocery trip with one of my boys, I was able to reach mom on the phone. It was great to talk to her and hear her voice, and I know that it was a bonus for both she and Lucas to speak with one another. Eager to hear about the start of school, much of the conversation was spent answering questions posed by mom. She caught us up on her day, and was pleased to let us know that she had been working hard on walking and other therapy exercises. Her determination and strength are inspiring, and part of the gift of how she was intentionally designed. We continue to pray for the details to fall into place, as mom is still in limbo, waiting for in-home therapies with actual therapists.

 

The very same God, known-with-purpose.jpg

Who hung all the stars;

Made us with a plan,

Purpose that is ours.

Designed with intent,

Wonderfully made;

Fully we are known,

As His love’s displayed.

May we each go forth,

And pursue His plan;

Love with intention,

Each day as we can.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know and love us so well. Thank You that all of creation has been designed intentionally, and is fully known by You. Forgive us for somehow forgetting just how vast the expanse of Your love and wisdom reaches. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would faithfully pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love well, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in a way that lifts up and encourages those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love and grow into all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. – Philippians 2:13

 

* A song that comes to mind as a reminder of this truth, is Stars, by Skillet. ❤

 

 

Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 

 

Live Life

We had a worship night for women last night at my church. Our women’s pastor brought a simple, yet profound word, as she conveyed real examples from her own life to share what the Lord had placed upon her heart for us. The following is what I gleaned from our time together.

Fear and obstacles that stand before us, are the two greatest factors that hold us back from the fullness of all that God has for us. Typically, we are held back in one of two ways. We either refuse to even get out of the boat, despite seeing Jesus walking toward us upon the water through the wind and waves, or we get out of the boat, begin walking, and then suddenly see the wind and waves surrounding us and begin to sink. Either way, we miss out on the miracles our Maker has for us, as we are called to weather the storms, not simply wait for them to pass.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – (James 1:2, NLT)

 

As we continue to keep walking toward our Savior, despite the wind and the waves – our fears and the obstacles before us – we allow Him opportunity to move mightily in us and through us, and discover joys we would have never known on the journey, because of His great faithfulness to us.

So how the heck do we do this? The words Pastor Wendy heard were simple, yet so significant. Live Life. Live. Continue pressing in and pressing on, in spite of the fears and the obstacles. Do not limit the Lord, nor make Him too small. He can do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, and the joy that awaits us is unfathomable. Our charge is to be available and to move forward in all that He calls us into. We are not meant to be stuck in the boat in fear, nor sinking in the waves as terror overtakes us. May we look to the Lord and consider all trials opportunities for His joy, as He will do abundantly more in us and through us as we choose to keep pressing forward.

 

We must make the choice,

To embrace with joy;

All that comes our way,

Choose faith to employ.

From inside the boat,

We never will know;

How great His power,

Nor give room to grow.

Despite what we face,

The waves and the wind;

The Lord is right there,

To lift us again.

He walks right beside,

Each step of our way;

Provides what we need,

Enough for each day.

The challenging part,

Is we’ll never know;

All that lies ahead,

If we will not go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our fears and trials and use them as opportunities to grow us and give us greater joy as You demonstrate Your love and care for us as we choose to keep walking forward in spite of what lies before us. Forgive us for allowing fears or obstacles to paralyze us where we are, and keep us from allowing You access to all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would consider even the trials opportunities for great joy, as You give grace and strength that we have not known before. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize trials and obstacles as opportunities for great joy because of who You are. Amen.

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

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. – Galatians 5:25