The Rightness of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that the grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

This morning, as I peered out into the darkness and let my pup out to take care of business, I was shocked to see the ground saturated from rain, after the last few weeks of sunshine. For a moment, my heart sank a bit, as I had a minute of mourning at the passing of such sweet sunny days. Once I caught the delightful aroma of the cleansing rain, I was reminded that the change is actually a good thing, as the rain waters the earth, and it also cleanses the pollen from the air. Though I prefer the sunshine, the rain too, serves a positive purpose and is good. God gives us both, for each has a benefit to behold. New growth is necessary and good, and the sun grants light and energy to foster the growing that takes place when water has been supplied. Each new season is the same for us. We may grow fond of the season we find ourselves in, yet change is good as it challenges us to keep growing. May we seek the Lord and give Him thanks for each new season as it comes, and praise God for how He provides all that we need to be nourished and to continue to grow.

As the rains fall down,

And waters the earth;

All things are prepared,

For growth and new birth.

Cleansing refreshment,

His blessings supplied;

The changing seasons,

As grace is applied.

So, let the rains come,

Praise God for the new;

Water for our souls,

As His love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful rain that waters the earth and causes new to grow. Thank You for the blessings beheld in each new season. Forgive us for our frustration with change, for change is exactly what is used to grow us more like You. Teach us to lean into You and give You thanks for all things new, for You are present and good to lead us through. Show us how to love those around us like a refreshing rain, so that all may be nourished to grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the cleansing rain that falls to refresh and bring new growth. Amen.

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

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Be Kind to All

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV) 

‘’You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves. This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, MSG) 

Yesterday, the message delivered by one of the pastors at our church, resonated so clearly with me. (Link here, if you wish to listen.) His message mirrored the cry of my heart and what I have felt compelled to and ascertain to accomplish, for as long as I can recall. The bottom line is to love as God loves us. That means EVERYONE! Does this mean that I am successful every minute of every day? No. However, I am ever seeking to learn and grow and be established and rooted more deeply in Christ, so that I may do and be better each day. This is the reason that I refuse to engage in political banter on social media. When it is words being spewed into the oblivion, it seems to get really ugly, really rapidly. There is no capacity to see and hear the heart of the “speaker”, therefore it becomes a matter of attempting to prove why one’s own position is right, and the other is wrong. Kindness and love fall away, and what we are called to do, is far from done. We are not called to attempt to prove why our thinking is right and the other person’s is wrong. We are called to LOVE. Period. End statement. Love acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly. (Micah 6:8) Love is patient, kind, protective, honest, full of hope, and always perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor others, have a “me-first” attitude, is not easily angered, and does not keep record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Jesus loved the sinners and the saints; shared meals with both the despised and the embraced, and He shared much with the masses. He helped, He healed, He accepted, and He loved. What Jesus did, is what we are called to do. Our charge, as children of the Almighty God, is to LOVE. No matter who it is or what circumstances surround us, we must be kind and figure out how to love. Incredibly, when we ask and actually listen for answers, He will teach and equip us to love as He is calling us to love. Every act of kindness is an investment in others. As we sow love and kindness and generosity, God works in the hearts of those who receive. We are not called to preach at people, but rather we are called to love as Jesus loved. If we do so, according to His call, hearts can be changed and minds renewed. May we seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us each day, so that we may go forth and love one another according to His good and perfect will. 

We are not just called, 

To love those who love; 

But also, those who, 

Challenge us above. 

Jesus has shown us, 

To love enemies; 

For as we choose to, 

Both sides are set free. 

Set free from anger, 

From ugly dissent; 

For kindness disarms, 

Leads us to repent. 

Lord teach us to see, 

Others with Your love; 

To live as You lived, 

Give kindness above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip and empower every willing heart to love as You loved, as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that our words or deeds did not reflect a love like Yours. Teach us to love both friend and foe in the same way that You love each of us. Show us what it means to love like You, and how to be kind and loving, even to those who make it difficult. May hearts be changed and relationships mended, as we seek to love ALL, as You love us; and may many come into a lasting relationship with You, the One who loves forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us in Your love for others. 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

The Blessing of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

 

We have been blessed with beautiful weather the last two weeks, which considering our “stay at home” status, has been extra beneficial. There is something about having sunrays streaming in through windows, and the light shining through the burly branches of the evergreen trees in our backyard, that lifts my countenance and bring me joy, simply at the sight of sunshine. This morning, I was almost surprised to see drizzle, darkness and damp, blanketing the scene out back through my kitchen window. At first, I felt my heart sink a little, as I inwardly groaned at the limitations it could cause for our day. After I made a bit of breakfast and sat down with my coffee, I thought it best to turn to the word and remind myself of the reason for rain. The first verse that captured my attention to remind me again of the beauty of rain, was the above-mentioned verse from Psalm 147. Rain is supplied to us to water the earth. It helps grass and crops grow, and where we live, keeps everything beautiful and green. Because rain is abundant in the Northwest, we seldom have to think about watering grass or plants outdoors, as rain takes care of it for us. After the simple reminder, I looked again and noticed how much greener the trees and the grass appear, when freshly covered in rain. Another great thing about rain this morning is that it will wash away the build-up of pollen everywhere. Atop of cars, roads, decks, trees, stoops, and basically anything outdoors, there has been a thick coating of yellow-green dust that clings to everything. One good round of rain clears the pollen and refreshes the air, so that allergy sufferers may breathe more freely, once again. For a bit of humor, my husband just woke and walked upstairs, looked out into the backyard, and said, “Oh man, rain. Really?” I giggled to myself, as I think we had similar hopes of outdoor activities for the day. God is good, and so is the rain. We will take the watering of the earth, the clearing of the pollen, and appreciate all the sunshine that we have had so many days in a row. May we find the good in whatever comes, for God is faithful to provide in every season.

 

When clouds fill the sky,wp-15872244864286637822912657625399.jpg

And the rains do come;

Know they have purpose,

There’s good to be done.

As rain waters earth,

Grass and the crops grow;

Providing for us,

God’s faithfulness shown.

Lord help us recall,

The blessing of rain;

As Your love’s outpoured,

We all stand to gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send Your rain to water the earth and wash away what does not need to remain. Thank You that You do the same for our hearts as we call on You and seek Your guidance in all things. Forgive us for our frustration with things that are much bigger than ourselves, as You have purpose in all things. Teach us to trust You and rely on You to order our days, as You lead us and love us through every sort of weather. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage each, so that they come to understand how showered in love they are by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for the rain that waters the earth, and thank You for the sunshine that follows. Amen.

 

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

 

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. – Leviticus 26:4

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. Amen. 

 

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28