Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, 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. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Together in Peace

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV) 

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, MSG) 

And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. – (1 Peter 3:8, TLB) 

If only the world would follow this directive… The more we seek to understand one another, the greater our love grows for each other. This requires compassion, sympathy, humility, and love. A tender heart with the intent to love, makes friends feel like family, and brings peace to wherever they are present. Being agreeable in this way does not mean that we agree nor align with everything that those around us think or believe, but it does mean that we are willing to listen and learn so that we have compassion to for those who see the world differently than we do. Our charge is not to argue, belittle nor disavow differences, but rather to seek to understand, and above all, love. May we seek the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we may live together in peace. Show us, Lord, how to be agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble towards one another. 

If we all followed, 

What God has in mind; 

We’d all be humble, 

And choose to be kind. 

The love God gives, 

Would be what is seen; 

True understanding, 

Through pure listening. 

Without agenda, 

But rather to learn; 

So compassion’s shown, 

And in love, we’d turn. 

Turn to each other, 

With love and with grace; 

Helping our neighbors, 

As peace fills this place. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us and tell us what it is to love like You. Forgive us for the horrible ways that we react toward one another, rather than seeking to understand. Show us how to listen, learn, and love like You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that create community and safety and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble. Amen. 

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

True Community

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV) 

If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, ERV) 

In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, TPT) 

If we are truly living in community as we are called to do, our love for one another compels us to know and love each other so deeply, that when one is hurting – we all hurt; and when one is honored, we all rejoice with them. In a close-knit family, this is a natural response to one another. However, to become a body that cares for one another in the way that God intended, requires an investment of time and devotion to each other. As we grow in understanding and care for one another, we naturally mourn with those who mourn, and celebrate with those who celebrate. As a body, a true community, we come together with compassion and empathy. May we seek the Lord to show us and grow us in how to be in community with those around us. 

Lord, teach us to love, 

 One to another; 

With Your compassion, 

For sisters, brothers. 

Show us how to love, 

In ways that are clear; 

Through mourning and joy, 

Let all know You’re near. 

Show us how to mourn, 

With those stuck in grief; 

And how to rejoice, 

As they find relief. 

Help us walk beside, 

Helping each other; 

As You do for us, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to community in such a way, that we have empathy for those around us. Thank You that You call us to both mourn with those who are suffering, and to celebrate with those who are experiencing blessing. Forgive us for neglecting one and embracing the other, or for not investing well enough in those around us to know when either is taking place. Show us how to love as You love; for You walked among the broken and lifted up the downtrodden. Lead us to have compassion and empathy for those around us, no matter what season they find themselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to have compassion and empathy for all those around us. Amen. 

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

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

Wisdom in Exposure

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV) 

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG) 

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything from our lives that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT) 

If we love and respect God, and the temple within where He dwells, our objective ought to include removing the things from our lives that lead us away from Him and His will.  We must care for the temple, both outside and in. This means that the things that we expose ourselves to and consume, either edify and align with God, or they do not. With all that is going on in our country and our world, it is especially important to keep the main things, the main things. When we choose to use wisdom as to what we take in, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on where our hope is held. Though I stumble and fall short, my hope is in Christ, and I desire to honor Him through every decision I make, and how I care for the heart, mind, body and soul that He has given me. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on Christ and His ways, so that we may rid ourselves of everything that contaminates body and spirit, and seek Him to develop His holiness within us. 

Let us choose part ways, 

With things that distract; 

Both mind and body, 

Temptations, attacks. 

Instead, let us fix, 

Our hearts upon Him; 

So Christ is honored, 

By what we take in. 

Though all’s permitted, 

Not all things are good; 

Seek God to guide us, 

To do as we should. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lead us in how to best care for our body, heart, soul and mind. Thank You that You provide wisdom and guidance as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed garbage in, or have gotten caught up in what is around us, rather than abiding by You who are within us. Teach us to listen to Your leading. Help us to make a clean break from that which distracts or defiles us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness is what is evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You by how we tend to the temple that we have been given. Amen. 

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

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Purposeful Precepts

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life. – (Psalm 119:93, NIV) 

But I’ll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words. – (Psalm 119:93, MSG) 

I will never forget Your commands, because through them You gave me new life. – (Psalm 119:93, ERV) 

Upon first read, I pondered “precepts” and then referred to the dictionary for further clarification. A precept, according to my online dictionary, is a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct. It goes on further to list a precept as an injunction to moral conduct. As we invest in learning and understanding the word of God, we discover directions given that show us how to live the way that God intended. Not only that, but His word reminds us that we are forgiven and set free, so that we may live a new life in Him. The greatest commands that He has given us, tells us to love God and love one another. If we do both of these, we fulfill the law as He intended. Love must direct our every word, thought, and action. God is faithful to guide and direct us in the way that is best, if we are willing to seek Him and follow His leading. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord and His will for all things, for it is by His love that we have new life in Him. 

The word of the Lord, 

Is advice to seek; 

To live our lives well, 

And of His love, speak. 

The more we invest, 

The better we know; 

How to choose love well, 

As His precepts show. 

So, let us rise up, 

Be rooted in love; 

May our lives display, 

Our Father above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direct access to how we are meant to live, through Your word, prayer and worship. Forgive us for the times that we either neglected to heed Your direction, or simply chose to go our own way. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in the love You created us to give. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover the beautiful new life that is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, trust You, and follow Your leading for every day of our lives. Amen. 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31 

Attributes of Wisdom

But the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT) 

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV) 

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT) 

The attributes of godly wisdom are such that the hearer is willing to listen because the one who is actively utilizing the wisdom from God is pure, peaceful, loving, gentle and willing to hear others. One who is acting with God’s wisdom is merciful, ready to help people without favoritism and with true sincerity. This is a space where there is always room to grow. Obtaining godly wisdom is a life-long process. We do better when we know better, and knowing better only comes through earnestly seeking God’s heart in all things. Wisdom is needed to navigate each day, if we desire to live the life that we have been created to live. Each of us are designed with purpose, yet purpose is only discovered as we seek wisdom from our Creator. He will show us how to love and serve best, and will grant us the strength and stamina to continue to pursue wisdom and live in such a way that His heart is clearly made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow in His wisdom, for it is pure, peaceful, loving, teachable, fair, giving and honest. 

May we seek wisdom, 

From the Lord above; 

Pure, peaceful and kind, 

That demonstrates love. 

Let us be willing, 

To seek the Lord’s way; 

So justice and grace, 

Are made known each day. 

God in His goodness, 

Gives as we ask Him; 

So that we may love, 

With grace and wisdom. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of true wisdom. Thank You that You show us how to grow in Your wisdom as we pursue You. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us. Teach us to ever pursue You for Your wisdom. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, by Your wisdom. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom so that we know how to do Your will. Amen. 

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

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

Gaze at the Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV) 

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV) 

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks of His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT) 

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. Amen. 

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

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

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Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

A Love Like No Other

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. – (Psalm 34:3, NIV)

Praise the Lord with me. Let us honor His name. – (Psalm 34:3, ERV)

Come and lift up the Eternal with me; let’s praise His name together! – (Psalm 34:3, VOICE)

 

A little over a year ago, we could have lost our mom. She suffered a massive stroke, and the circumstances surrounding her survival, are nothing short of miraculous. Mother’s Day last year was barely two weeks after her stroke, and though still a bit shell-shocked, we were overflowing with gratitude that we still had our mom. This year, there is even more to be thankful for on this Mother’s Day. Mom continues to gain strength and mobility, and is doing phenomenally well; she has come incredibly far over the last year. Additionally, I know that both my sister and I are so grateful to have not only our mom thriving, but our mother’s-in-love, and bonus (step) mom, doing well, also. We are full of gratitude to have healthy children, who are thriving, despite the frustration of our current circumstances. Even with three seniors between us, a freshman, and a nineteen-year-old, gratitude is in the forefront of our hearts and minds, as we know we have so many reasons to glorify God and give Him praise. Though I know not everyone shares the same story of blessing associated with Mother’s Day, I imagine we all know women who have had a powerfully positive influence in our lives. Whatever our experience, may we begin this day with praise for what He has done, is doing, and that which is yet to come.

 

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Love like no other;

I glorify God,

For my own mother.

I am beyond blessed,

Through her precious life;

As she models love,

And quickly ends strife.

Further the thanks goes,

For those brought along;

Women who love well,

Show how to love strong.

All praise to the Lord,

On this Mother’s Day;

For loving women,

Blessings on our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You this morning and every day for the overwhelming ways that You meet me and bless me with Your presence and Your provision. Thank You for the incredible gift of mothers. Thank You for the women that You place in our lives to show us how to love and seek You for strength as we navigate our journey with You. Forgive us for taking our mother’s for granted, even for a moment, for they are a blessing and a gift from You. Teach us to seek You and praise You all the more for who You are, daily. Show us how to love well, so that we might be people who demonstrate the sort of love that You intended each of us to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. – Proverbs 31:31, GNT

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into Him, the anointed Head of His body, the church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TPT)  

 

This is such a critical element to growing together as a body. It is not merely speaking the truth, but speaking the truth in love. There is a dramatic difference. Truth in love seeks to help, heal, correct, and make better, every situation and circumstance with ultimate good as the goal. The intent should never be to harm, but rather be to help grow in likeness to Christ. Additionally, we must be careful with our own walk, before we become concerned with the decisions of those around us. Of course, we can care, but in order to be a loving bearer of truth, we must be living out the truth we speak, daily. To speak truth anywhere, there first must be trust. Trust only comes through invested time in relationship. If we are to grow and become mature as a body of believers, we have to be willing to break down barriers, get to know and trust one another, so that we are able to grow together. As we do, speaking the truth in love becomes a “normal” practice, in the same way it does between dear friends, healthy spouses, and various other relationships that are built on trust. May we seek the Lord to grow and mature us in our trusting relationships with Him and those around us, so that we may always speak the truth in love, in the same way that He speaks to us.

 

May truth be spoken,Speak the Truth in Love

Ever wrapped in love;

With intent to grow,

Heart like God above.

For when there is trust,

There’s a heart to hear;

What will lead to good,

As love removes fear.

To grow together,

In trust and God’s good;

Let love lead in truth,

To do as we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to speak the truth in love. Jesus came and taught, loved, corrected, redirected, and showed us what it is to walk in Your way and grow together as a body. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without love or without truth; the absence of either is not the way You intended for us to grow. Teach us to trust and rely on You to show us how to build and establish relationships that are full of trust, so that there is safety to always speak the truth in love. Show us how to love those around us in word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people, ever seeking to speak the truth in love for Your glory. Amen.

 

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

 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8