Follow the Example of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

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 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)

I so appreciate the Message translation of this passage. The reality that what God mostly does is love us, is incredible and undeserved. If we spend time with Him, He teaches and shows us what it is to live a life of love. Christ’s love is selfless, not selfish. He loved without expecting anything in return. We are called to do likewise. This kind of love is not natural for the human heart, however, the more we seek and spend time with the Lord, the more we learn to love like Him. In a world where so much adversity and animosity exist, we need to love all the more. Love is a decision, not a feeling. We must choose to love one another as we are loved by God. In order to do so, we must seek the Lord, know Him, and depend on Him to equip us to do exactly what we were created to do. May we ever lean into the Lord to show us what it is to love in every situation and circumstance.

As children of God,

May we seek to love;

All people, always,

Like the Lord above.

It is a free gift,

With no strings attached;

Yet it draws us in,

In thanks, we react.

Respond with kindness,

God’s grace, love and peace;

The more we choose love,

Enmity released.

The Lord’s love gave all,

We’re called to the same;

To extend His grace,

Instead of placed blame.

Lead us in love, Lord,

Show us love Your way;

Help us be better,

Each waking new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us – completely and extravagantly, despite what we deserved. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose love. Show us how to love like You in all things and at all times. Instruct us as You grow our hearts to more closely reflect Your own. Use us as Your ambassadors of peace as we seek to love You and people well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You and seek to be a reflection of Your radiant love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Create In Me

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, NIV) 

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV) 

Create a new, clean heart within me. Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please You. – (Psalm 51:10, TPT) 

A pure heart is fairly clear, yet a steadfast spirit seems to be much more than strong. Under further investigation, steadfast is defined as: fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering faith, and firmly established. These descriptors are far more helpful in expressing the prayer of my heart, as my desire is to have a pure heart and a spirit within me that is fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering in faith, and firmly established in Christ. My desire is for my heart, mind and spirit to fix on the things of God, so that I am able to love as I am called to love. Thor, our puppy, is a tangible illustration for me, as though he can be mischievous and a little crazy, his love and trust in us is unwavering. God desires for us to love and trust Him in the same way, despite our shortcomings. May we all seek the Lord to cleanse our hearts and establish a steadfast spirit within us, so that we may walk out our days in His will. 

O Lord, help my heart, 

To be clean and pure; 

So my words and deeds, 

Show Your love is sure. 

Please renew and grow, 

Steadfastness in me; 

Let all that I do, 

Show Your love clearly. 

Lead me and guide me, 

In all of my ways; 

So I reflect You, 

Throughout all my days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your willingness to cleanse our hearts and solidify steadfast spirits within us. Forgive us for our sinfulness. Teach us to invest in relationship with You, so that we may be made pure and steadfast before You. Show us how to love purely and with clear direction from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make our hearts pure and our spirits steadfast. Amen. 

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

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. – Proverbs 4:26

Honor and Protect

May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in You. – (Psalm 25:21, NIV)

You are good and do what is right. I trust You to protect me. – (Psalm 25:21, ERV)

May honor and strong character keep me safe. Vigilantly I wait for You, hoping, trusting. – (Psalm 25:21, VOICE)

 

One of my husband’s favorite things about his job is that he works with great people. He is especially drawn to the motor officers, as he has had the privilege of working closely with and attending training each summer with them, as he keeps their motorcycles running safely throughout the year. Last evening, we were honored to attend a small retirement dinner for one of the motor officers, whom Mark has worked with the entire time that he has been employed by the city. It was a joy to be in the company of men and their wives who live upright and are of strong character; humbly trusting and hoping in God as they choose to serve their community. In such a position, I imagine it requires intentional trust each day, for protection and direction as they seek to fulfill their duties with integrity and uprightness. In the same way that I pray daily for the safety and protection of my family, I ought to also remember those who serve our city, state and our nation. May integrity and uprightness protect us all as we place our hope in the Lord, who is worthy of all of our trust.

 

Lord, help me to seek, Honor and Protect

A heart after Yours;

Strong in character,

That in trust, endures.

May I walk upright,

In all that I do;

Let each word and deed,

Clearly reflect You.

Protect me, O God,

In all of my ways;

So Your light is shown,

Today and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for the protection You provide for those who faithfully pursue Your ways. Thank You for those who willingly place their lives on the line to keep us safe, daily. Watch over and provide for their families too, as there is sacrifice in the space of uncertainty. Forgive us for taking such servants for granted, as so many seek You to lead and guide them in what they do. Teach us to remember in prayer, all who serve, and to pursue You to live with integrity and uprightness every single day. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage goodness, honor and strong character to rise up and be rooted securely in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust our lives into Your hands and seek You to live in such a way that You are honored 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