The Greatest Love Story

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – (John 3:16, HCSB)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

In this season of fixation on love, it seems only appropriate to recognize and celebrate the greatest love of all. God loved creation so much that He gave His Son to restore what had been lost, and to make the way for all who receive it, to have life everlasting with Him. We have all been hand-crafted, designed to love and be loved. The unique design placed within each of us grants us the capacity to love well. This love is not limited to romantic love, but rather it equips and empowers us to love all. From our parents, to siblings, to children, family, friends and a significant other, God gives us all that we need to love well. It is up to us to receive all that He offers so that we might truly know His love and then go and love likewise, all those whom He has placed in our lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, and give Him all praise for His loving ways each day that we draw breath.

The greatest love story,

That’s ever been told;

The gift of a Savior,

To have and to hold.

It is through the knowing,

Receiving of grace;

That we too can love well,

As we seek His face.

God places in our lives,

People we’re to love;

All whom He created,

Purposed from above.

So seek Him to love well,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Receive all He gives;

In Christ we’re empowered,

To love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your One and only Son to make the way for us to be in a loving relationship with You and equipped to love others as You do. Thank You that Your love gives us hope and help, life and love that last forever. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You intended, and for when we neglect to receive what You freely and lovingly offer. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting goodness and grace as You continually show us Your loving ways. Lead us to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of Your love and trust You to lead us to love all those around us well. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11

To the Shepherds

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.” – (Luke 2:8-11, HCSB)

That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you – news that will make everyone happy. Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. – (Luke 2:8-11, ERV)

There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.” – (Luke 2:8-11, MSG)

I love that God first announced the birth of His Son to shepherds who were guarding their sheep from predators. As shepherds, they had to fend off wild animals and poachers, yet an angel was outside their realm of what they might see on any given night. However, the first thing the angel said to them was, “Do not be afraid.” Once the initial fear subsided, imagine being the ones to receive such an amazing announcement. For four hundred years, God had been silent, and yet here, out in a field, the glory of the Lord appeared to shepherds to tell of the arrival of the promised Messiah that had so long ago been foretold. We know what happens next, as the shepherds hurried on their way to see this sight that the angel had proclaimed with awe and wonder. As we continue toward Christmas, may we, as ordinary people, be in awe to recall that God came near to us so that we may all embrace the grace that gives new life through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He came for all to make the way for us to be restored. It is up to us to receive this most precious gift ever given. Lord, lead us in awe and wonder as we ponder the powerful promise fulfilled as You sent heaven to earth to become God with us.

In awe and wonder,

Imagine the sight;

The presence of God,

Gave shepherds a fright.

But to their surprise,

An angel brought news;

The promised Savior,

Was nearby, in view.

Of all the people,

Nearby His birth place;

God chose the shepherds,

To first see His face.

The face of the Lord,

A new baby born;

To save humankind,

The One to adore.

May we remember,

In wonder and awe;

The most blessed news,

And all that they saw.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your messenger to ordinary shepherds to share the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. Thank You that though an overwhelming sight, You had the angel remind them that they need not fear, for You had sent Your Son to be near. Forgive us for forgetting that You do incredible things through ordinary people to look to You. Teach us to ever look to You and remember all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do extraordinary things through ordinary people who believe You. Amen.

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! – Luke 2:14

Praise for the Blessings

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has provided redemption for His people. – (Luke 1:68, HCSB)

Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help His people and has given them freedom. – (Luke 1:68, ERV)

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. – (Luke 1:68, VOICE)

This verse was the beginning of Zechariah’s praise in response to the birth of his long-awaited son, John. John, was the one who was to go before Jesus and prepare the way in the wilderness, sharing the light and hope of the One who had come to save us all. Zechariah was a priest who understood the promises of God and the incredible power in the fulfillment. He could not help but praise God for the blessing that had been poured out upon him and Elizabeth, and all people, for what was soon to come. Our response in this most holy season of remembrance should be likewise, overflowing with praise. No matter the challenges that have been along our path, there is always a reason to praise the Lord. He is faithful forever and sent heaven to earth as Jesus came near. May we ever give God praise for the most precious gift ever given as we remember the reason for the season.

Songs full of praises,

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Should flood ev’ry heart;

For the Lord came near,

To grant us fresh start.

First, He gave us John,

To prepare the way;

To speak of the Lord,

With all of his days.

Before he was born,

The Lord had proclaimed;

The baby to come,

Would honor His Name.

The grateful response,

Was great words of praise;

Giving God glory,

For His faithful ways.

In this sweet season,

May we choose give praise;

For love and for life,

Faithful gracious ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You foretold of Your arrival and sent messengers before Jesus to prepare hearts to receive all that His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension does for all who choose to believe and receive. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize and celebrate all that You have done for us. Teach our hearts to embrace Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways so that Your heart may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing songs of praise and give You all of our worship during this most blessed time of year. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him, my Father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Amazing Adoption

When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. – (Galatians 4:4-5, HCSB)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

But when the time of fulfillment had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Yet all of this was so that He would redeem and set free those held hostage to the law so that we would receive our freedom and a full legal adoption as His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, TPT)

God sent His Son to us in the same way that each of us arrived. Jesus was born of a woman, grew up as a human, and was subject to the same sort of trials and triumphs that we all have as a part of the human experience. However, Jesus did so without sin. He was subject to temptation as we are, yet He navigated all in accordance to the Father. Because He did, He was able to be the perfect and pure sacrifice for all so that we could come before the Father and be accepted and embraced as His own. Adoption is a beautiful grafting of a person not born into a family as one of their own. Once adopted, the law sees that individual as an equal member of the family into which they have been adopted. Beautifully, I have two dear friends who were adopted as infants, and were raised in wonderful, loving homes. Incredibly, they have also been fully accepted and embraced into their biological family as well as adults. It is through these tangible examples that my heart is best able to grasp the beauty and love that is held in the process of adoption. I am overwhelmed in knowing that the God of the entire universe calls me His own. To be the daughter of the ultimate Father is a blessing that goes beyond my understanding. Though I have done nothing to earn such a blessing, that is not how adoption works. We are received and loved for who we are, however and whenever we come to Him. May we take time to ponder the powerful love that would come from heaven to earth to make the way for each of us to become daughters and sons of the living God.

When heaven came down,

Through God’s only Son;

He showed us the way,

That battles are won.

He grew as a man,

Tempted in all ways;

Yet was without sin,

For all of His days.

He made plain the path,

Through love’s sacrifice;

For our adoption,

Into paradise.

Thank You Lord Jesus,

For making the way;

So we might be heirs,

To hope each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son in such a way that He would understand all of our trials and triumphs as He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice so that we might be called Your own. Thank You that as we come to You and receive all that You offer, we are adopted as Your children. Forgive us for not receiving all that You offer and for the times that we have not represented Your family well. Teach us and grow us so that we may more clearly reflect Your likeness to the world. Lead us to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the privilege of being called Your sons and daughters that receive an inheritance into Your kingdom forever. Amen.

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

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:18

All That We Can

When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one it belongs to. – (Proverbs 3:27, HCSB)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Do not withhold what is good from those who deserve it; if it is within your power to give it, do it. – (Proverbs 3:27, VOICE)

The thing is, we can always give good. Our kindness, attention and grace cost us nothing, yet provide much to those who need it most. God is the ultimate giver of all good, and we are called to love in the same way. Sometimes, it is through tangible giving of things, yet often, it is our time, energy and love that are truly needed. As we seek the Lord and receive His goodness and grace, we are compelled to love those around us in the same way. During this most wonderful season, there are always needs to be met. It is up to us to look around us and do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are. May we open our eyes to see the need around us and do what we can to give good to all.

Lord, open our eyes,

So that we may see;

The needs we can meet,

By grace, faithfully.

Teach us to choose love,

To honor and serve;

To love as we’re loved,

Kindness not deserved.

For all deserve good,

Not for what’s been done;

But rather because,

We’re daughters and sons.

All of creation,

You’ve made and called good;

So help us to love,

Each one as we should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and give good gifts, not because we deserve them, but because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for neglecting to do the good that we can, and lead us in Your love to give of our time, talents and resources wherever You ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can love those around us as You first loved us. Show us how to love like You wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do everything we possibly can, with what we have, wherever we are. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion for one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Love Answers With Action

Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. – (1 John 3:18, HCSB)

My children, our love should not be only word and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

Love is a funny thing. We can say it all we want, but until we see and experience it for ourselves, it is merely a theory that holds little value. God designed us intentionally. Our hearts are created to give and receive love. People have varying ideas as to what love is, for in our broken human condition, the word often becomes skewed and hollow rather than something to embrace, give and receive. Most of us really begin to understand what real love is when it is shown through the actions of others who have no expectation of anything in return. Amazingly, the more we know and experience love, the more we are filled up and ready to love others in the same way. With God, we grow in our understanding of the magnitude of His love for us; a love that gave all so that we might have life in abundance. If we desire to truly love as Christ loves us, we must make love and grace a way of life. God spells out for us what love is and is not. 

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it is not boastful, it is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love, not with mere words, but with our every decision, action, and lifestyle.

O Lord let our love,

Be far more than words;

May our actions speak,

Beyond what is heard.

Lead us and guide us,

To love as You do;

Let our very lives,

Give praise unto You.

As we choose love well,

With actions and deeds;

May Your love be clear,

The answer to needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that You not only call us to love, but You show us how and You equip us to do so. Forgive us for the times that our words have been hollow or our actions have not been a reflection of the love that You give to us. Teach us to love others as You first loved us. Show us how to live a life of love that makes Your love evident through our every action and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love well with our lives. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

How Faithful Your Love

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Fill us with Your love every morning. Let us be happy and enjoy our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, ERV)

Let the sunrise of Your love end our dark night. Break through our clouded dawn again! Only You can satisfy our hearts, filling us with songs of joy to the end of our days. – (Psalm 90:14, TPT)

When we seek the Lord in the morning, He is faithful to meet us and show us His great love that never fails. Each morning, the sunrise is my reminder of both His power and His nearness. As I begin my day with God, I find joy that sets a song in my heart and grants me gladness that remains with me throughout the day. Even on the days that clouds are thick and dark, His light appears and brings the day into being. May we ever seek our Savior to show us His love anew, and find joy and gladness in His faithfulness.

Lord, in the morning,

As I seek Your face;

You grant me mercy,

Goodness, love and grace.

As the sun rises,

You show us anew;

How faithful Your love,

Each promise is true.

May songs ever rise,

Let us worship You;

For all that You are,

And all that You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless and satisfy us with Your love each morning, and fill our hearts with joy that is lasting. Forgive us for not pausing to recognize Your loving faithfulness and goodness each time we recognize Your presence. Teach us to posture ourselves before You to receive the abundance of Your loving kindness and help our hearts to sing praise to You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and kindness abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your goodness anew each morning and give our praise unto You all throughout the day. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

The Anchor of Easter

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, NIV)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold. – (Hebrews 6:19, TPT)

The sanctuary curtain that used to separate people from the presence of God was torn in two when Jesus surrendered His last breath on the cross. What kept us from a true nearness to God was removed through the death and resurrection of Christ. This ability to draw near and be in a right relationship with God is the anchor for our soul. In this, we lay hold of the hope of both His presence now, and eternity that is yet to come. The only barrier that lies between us and God now, is us. It is up to us to receive all that the God of all creation is offering. This is what Easter is about; He came and removed the barrier between God and us, and provided hope that is firm and secure. Christ is our anchor through every storm, and where hope and love and life truly reside. May we look to the cross and remember the way that was made as Christ freely chose to take our place. Let us hold fast to the hope that is our anchor, no matter what storms cross our path.

The anchor is Christ,

Where true hope is found;

It’s firm and secure,

A love that’s renowned.

His love made the way,

Removing what stood;

Between us and God,

Mercy understood.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts full of praise;

Celebrate Easter,

Because Christ was raised.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we have hope to anchor our soul, and the freedom to come before You without barriers. Thank You that You removed the curtain that stood between us and You receive us as we come, no matter what state our hearts are in. Forgive us for forgetting the security that we have in You, as You anchor our hearts to Yours and hold us close through life’s wind and waves. Teach us to embrace the grace You freely give, and cling to the hope that anchors our soul. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend hope, safety and trust in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and gratitude through our days, for You are Who we need to navigate this life well. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Come to the Fountain

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

God is our fountain of hope. His outpouring is constant and abundant, if only we allow ourselves to draw near. The more we allow His hope to flow over us, the greater our experience of His joy and peace though trusting Him becomes. Even more, as we receive what He offers, the same will overflow from us. To radiate hope is exactly the way that I want to live. This only transpires through trust in Him. The Holy Spirit in us allows hope to flow from us in abundance. May we ever draw near to God, who is our fountain of hope, so that we may extend the same to those around us.

The God of all hope,

A fountain that pours;

Grace overflowing,

Flings wide open doors.

The doors to His peace,

And abundant joy;

For where hope is held,

Goodness is employed.

Let’s soak in the hope,

As He grants us peace;

No matter what comes,

His joy is released.

Joy in the journey,

Hope for the long ride;

Peace in the knowing,

He’ll be by our side.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our fountain of hope that never stops outpouring. Thank You that Your Holy Spirit within us grants us peace and joy, no matter our circumstances. Forgive us for not drawing near to receive all that You offer, which in turn dulls the light within us. Teach us to continually draw near so that we may radiate the hope we have in You. Show us how to love all those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your hope brings the joy and peace that has been absent. Be glorified O God and continually draw us into Your presence so that we may soak in the goodness of Your love that grows eternal hope, abundant joy and perfect peace. Amen.

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

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:3

The Look of Being Chosen

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

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

If we love God and choose to serve Him, we are His chosen people. We are dearly loved and viewed through the lens of Christ by God. It ought to be our ambition to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Each are attributes that demonstrate God’s love to others in tangible and visible ways. Additionally, it is a way to worship and love God, as we are intentional to love others well. Kindness, humility, gentleness and patience only exist if there is love. To know and extend love, we need to know He who is love. As we receive God’s love, we are equipped and empowered to love as we have been called. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and show us His love, so that we may go forth in mercy, with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all.

Because we are loved,

We’re called to the same;

Live life with mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

Be kind and humble,

Choose humility;

Be gentle, patient,

To all whom we meet.

May our love and life,

With clarity show;

God’s kindness to all,

Make His goodness known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are dearly loved by You. Thank You that You call us to extend Your goodness through our every word and deed. Thank You that You tell us what it ought to look like. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Teach us how to extend each of these things in all that we say and do. Show us how to love everyone as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us be merciful, kind, humble, gentle and patient with all people. Amen.

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

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you. – 1 Thessalonians 1:4