Nothing Without Love

If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, HCSB)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and may I have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ERV)

What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, VOICE)

No matter what good we do or say, it is meaningless if love is not our reason. God calls and commands us to love. All words and gestures are lost if love is not the motivation. In order to love in all things, we must be equipped and filled. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is a practical application of actions without love. When we become depleted without refreshment, all that we say and do becomes out of obligation rather than motivated by love. Obligation is exhausting. In reality, we all have obligations, yet when we are filled and equipped with love, we are able to fulfill what is required with love and intention rather than frustration. May we begin each day by seeking our Savior so that we may be refreshed, renewed and made ready to love in all things.

Empty are all things,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

If love is not there;

For only with love,

Can we show we care.

May all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be done fueled by love,

So God’s heart shines through.

Help us be people,

After Your own heart;

Lead us in Your love,

As each new day starts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the most excellent way is love. Thank You that You call and equip us to love. Forgive us for the things we have said and done that were not motivated and equipped with Your love. Teach us to rely on You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to do all things in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each new day to lead us well so that all that we say and do is done in love. Amen.

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

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

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

The Throne of Grace

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. – (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So now we draw near freely and boldly to where grace is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4 :16, TPT)

By Friday, I feel like I have finally reached the doorway to the throne of grace, as a break is at long last, in reach. However, I know that I can approach God anytime, for He is willing and ready to provide all that we need whenever we ask. It is interesting how much more we become aware of our need for God in times of difficulty and trials. He is good, and His mercy, kindness and help are always available to the seeking. This morning, as I prepare for the day, I again approach God to supply all that I need to navigate well. Each day is new, as are His mercies each morning. May we be intentional to come before the throne of grace to receive all that we need to persevere.

We have a high priest,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Who is ever near;

His heart is for us,

His grace is made clear.

He grants us His strength,

When we have no more;

He leads us to peace,

Through His open door.

Show us, dear Jesus,

Your mercy anew;

Grant us peace and strength,

To live and love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have an open invitation to approach Your throne of grace to receive all that we need. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You supply all that is needed as we come to You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to navigate on our own, or somehow power through things that are not ours to walk through alone. Teach us to seek and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You so that we may extend mercy and grace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to come before You to be our strength and supply. Amen.

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

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness. – John 1:16

To Love One Another

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Galatians 5:14, NIV)

The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Galatians 5:14, ERV)

For all the law can be summarized in one grand statement: “Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself.” – (Galatians 5:14, TPT)

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a loaded statement. If we truly love our neighbors as we desire to be loved, then we are on the right track. We are not always great at loving as God intended, for we forget or lose sight of the things that define love. In 1 Corinthians 13, love is defined through telling us what love is, and what it is not. Love is patient, kind, protective, trusting, trustworthy, hopeful and perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor, anger easily, hold grudges, celebrate evil, and is not selfish. When we are patient with those around us, we are showing love. As we choose to extend kindness to others, we are living out love. Protecting those around us who cannot protect themselves is love. Choosing to assume positive intent and being trustworthy are also ways we can show love. Each time we extend hope and choose to persevere, despite obstacles, love is being made tangible to those around us. Will we get this right every time we interact with those around us? No, but the more we choose to operate in love the more we are loving our neighbors as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in a life of choosing to love well.

To love is to see,

What others might need;

Helping, equipping,

So each may succeed.

To love each other,

As Christ has loved us;

Through choices we make,

Chance to show Jesus.

Lord, help us to show,

What love truly means;

As we love others,

Help Your heart be seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love each other, but You show us what it means to do so. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not displayed the love that You call us to give. Help us to seek and rely on You to lead us to love well. Show us how to love each person we encounter where they are at. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love others as You intended. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Peace Makes a Way

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow the peace of Christ to come and dwell within us, we are equipped and empowered to be promoters of peace to those around us. It is by God’s grace that we are placed exactly where we are for this very season, and it is out of a heart of gratitude that we discover His peace and purpose for us. I had mixed feelings as I left campus yesterday. It was the last day of a long and challenging year, and my class load for next year was shared with me. Though I was thrilled to know that I will have three sections of art, the two sections of 8th grade English grieved my heart a bit. The grieving is over the loss of working on a fabulous team with dear friends with a curriculum that I finally feel like I know, yet the two ladies that I will be teaming with next year are incredible, so I do look forward to getting to know them better. Peace was disrupted by the thought of yet again, having to learn an all new curriculum, causing me to feel like a brand new teacher. This is a space that I have to trust in God’s grace, and allow His peace to cover me. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and grace and allow the peace of God to fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and be promoters of peace.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With Your perfect peace;

May all our concerns,

To You, be released.

As we choose let go,

You fill us with peace;

‘Til it overflows,

Anxieties cease.

All thanks unto You,

Throughout all our days;

Lead us in Your love,

As peace makes a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your perfect peace so that we can go and bring peace to those around us. Thank You that Your grace covers us and Your love fills us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed circumstances to steal the perfect peace You provide. Teach us to trust You with everything, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our cares and concerns and rely on You to provide our perfect peace. Amen.

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

May the God of 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

Cleansed From Within

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. – (Matthew 15:18, NIV)

But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. Words can pollute, not food. – (Matthew 15:18, TPT)

But the things that come out of your mouth – your curses, your fears, your denunciations – these come from your heart, and it is the stirrings of your heart that can make you unclean. – (Matthew 15:18, VOICE)

When I read this, I am reminded of a childhood song that has the lines: “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little ears what you hear. Be careful little mouth what you say.” I know there is more to the song, but it was a powerful form of instruction from a young age; for whatever we allow into our hearts, mingles in our minds, and then makes way out of our mouths. If we seek to fuel our hearts and minds with God’s goodness and truth, the things that we say will be a reflection of such. However, when we are operating in our own ugly humanity, our words mirror the heart. We need Jesus to teach us and grow us in His love so that we can love in the same way. Lord, help us to pray and rely on You to cleanse our hearts and speak words that edify those around us.

Words that are wounding,

Vector illustration hand drawn.

Those spoken in rage;

Destroy in others,

Hope that You can save.

Lord, please cleanse our hearts,

Make loving each mind;

Let every word,

Be gracious and kind.

Help our words build up,

Keep silent all else;

Lead us by Your love,

As we die to self.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us how to love like You. Thank You that You call and command us to speak and act in love. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our hearts to entertain ugliness, and given voice to things not of You held in our hearts. Cleanse our hearts and minds of all that does not edify or please You. Teach us to invest our time, our heart, mind, soul and strength into a pleasing pursuit of You. Show us how to speak to those around us in love, and silence the thoughts that do not reflect Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are mindful of what we take in and allow to exit our mouths. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

May We Recognize His Goodness

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV) 

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to the Lord. – (Psalm 34:8, ERV) 

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE) 

The Lord is faithful to meet us as we seek Him. His goodness does not always manifest in the way we expect, but always, He is good. The more we trust, the more we find His comfort and presence that bless our hearts. This weekend is a strange one, as it has traditionally been a time to gather with family and enjoy time together. Today, we will share a meal and some of our favorite games with our dearest friends, while remaining very close to home. I will miss time with my mom, sister and extended family, but I know that there will still be blessings in the goodness of His presence as we trust in Him. May we all taste and see how good God is, for He is our space of comfort and safety in every season. 

The Lord, He is good, 

May all taste and see; 

Blessing and comfort, 

For you and for me. 

As we choose to trust, 

He makes His love clear; 

His goodness made plain, 

As we seek draw near. 

Let love lead the way, 

In all that we do; 

Give glory to God, 

As He makes things new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only pause to recognize how very good You are. No matter our situation or circumstances, thank You that You are present to help, protect and comfort. Forgive us for getting caught up in our own circumstances rather than trusting You. Teach us to rely on You, for You are our comfort and safety in every season. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all may taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to recognize how very good You are. Amen. 

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

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Live “Otherly”

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)

 

If this were truly the standard that people were following, I do not think that we would have empty store shelves and discover shortages of basic necessities. Before all of this COVID-19 craziness hit, stores were seldom out of the items that people needed on their typical grocery list. Now, however, grocery shopping online is not even an option, as such a large portion of one’s list is unable to be filled. Thankfully, we are well, and have all that we need. Being an early riser is helpful in more ways than one. That said, it matters how we conduct ourselves as we venture out to find what we need for our families. We must only take what is needed, so that others too may have what they require for their families. Also, how we treat these essential employees matters. Yesterday morning after I ran, I made a quick stop at Rite Aid to purchase Vitamin C for my family. The store was quiet, and the sweet cashier looked uncertain as she made her way to the register as I approached. We engaged in friendly conversation, and before I left, she was expressing her gratitude for my kindness. I had not done anything unusual, I simply was polite and respectful, and let her know that I appreciated her hard work, as it is likely a challenge right now in the midst of these circumstances. She informed me that she had been yelled at multiple times, for things that were completely beyond her control. I imagine I had a look of shock and horror on my face as she told her story, that I followed with an understanding apology for the ugly that comes out of humanity when fear enters in. Though our exchange was brief, I am further reminded of just how important it is to prefer others and make sure they know that they are valued and appreciated. This passage in Philippians is written to the church in Philippi, yet it can be applied to all of us and how we treat one another. It is amazing to see the shift in people as they are the recipients of being a priority and treated with respect and dignity. May we all seek the Lord to show us how to steer clear of selfishness and pride, and how best to honor and prefer others around us, above ourselves.

 

Let not our motives, Ambassadors of Love

Be driven by pride;

Lay down selfishness,

Seek the Lord to guide.

For He will show us,

How to choose to serve;

Prefer each other,

Help each see their worth.

Choose live “otherly”,

With kindness and grace;

Look for ways to bless,

As we live each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to live life this way through Your Son. There was no selfish ambition nor pride within Him, and He walked out His days humbly and sought to serve. Forgive us for the times that pride or selfishness get in the way of who You want us to be. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we prefer one another and extend kindness and grace in humility, without selfishness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lay down our selfishness and own ideas of how things ought to be, and look for opportunities to prefer others by extending kindness and care in tangible ways. Amen.

 

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

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

Love Never Stops

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. 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 13:6-7, TPT)

 

As I continue to study what the Word says about love, I am reminded of the endurance that love requires. Love rejoices with honesty and wants the very best for others. It trusts, hopes, believes, and refuses to give up. Additionally, love is a space of safety. Though we may not see eye-to-eye, love looks at each person as valued and lovable, regardless of how they interpret the world. When evil or ugliness happen, love is not happy with the hurts, even when the recipient may seem to deserve it. Rather, love delights in truth and never stops believing the best for others. Even when a toxic person is removed from our lives, we are meant to pray for them and trust that God will bring breakthrough on their behalf. To love is to choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere. The road is not always easy, but to love and be loved is always worth the investment. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, to choose love; always.

 

Love does not delight,

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Love always protects…❤ *Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

In evil displayed;

But delights in truth,

Walking in God’s way.

The way of God’s love,

Trust, hope and belief;

Protects, perseveres,

Grace-granting relief.

Though it’s not easy,

Love’s always worthwhile;

To love and be loved,

As the Lord’s own child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in all of these ways to show us how we are meant to love others. Thank You that choosing to love is an act of our will, and not based on feelings. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, and neglected to trust, hope, believe, protect or persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You to equip us to love well. Show us how to love others in a way that helps them know that they are trusted, hoped for, believed in, protected, and that they will not stop being loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love completely, as we are completely loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9