Community Brings Comfort

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – (Matthew 18:20, HCSB)

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

He Hears Our Heart

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

Right now, there is so much hurt and brokenness in the world. It seems like my most common asks before the Lord are for help and healing for the hurting. I know it is God’s will for people to be known and loved and whole, so I trust that He hears each prayer. As we seek and ask, He leads us and shows us what we can do, both practically and prayerfully. May we ever bring our requests boldly before Him, and listen to His leading throughout each new day. 

O God, I draw near,

And choose ask of You;

For I know You hear,

And Your heart is true.

You love, no limits,

Because we are Yours;

You lead with intent,

Show us open doors.

God, help us listen,

As You hear us all;

Direct each pathway,

And Your love, install.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers as we seek You for that which is right and true and motivated by love. Forgive us for the times that we ask for things that do not align with Your plans, and for when we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to listen and follow after all You have for us, and show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your heart is made tangible to all who seek You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and listen for Your leading. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Effort to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, HCSB)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

If we all sought God to grow His blessings in us, we would abound in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and strengthens us to rise up in these blessings He instills in us. It is up to us to pursue God and grant Him access to our heart, soul and mind so that we become more of who He has made us to be. This is not a one-time thing, but rather a life-long process. The people I know who best exemplify these things are those who continually and faithfully pursue the Lord each new day. May we ever go to God each new day that we draw breath to lead and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

The Lord is faithful,

To refine each heart;

That earnestly seeks,

His grace He imparts.

True faith will rise up,

As His goodness grows;

Knowledge imparted,

Love grants self-control.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Let Love lead the way,

Choose answer the call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You refine and grow us to be more like You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Teach us to ever pursue Your heart to extend to the world. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your heart may be made tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and change us to be more like You each new day. Amen.

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

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

The God of All Comfort

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, HCSB)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

I am so thankful for the comfort that God provides, and that He calls us to offer the same to those around us. Every time I have experienced hardships, struggles or affliction, He has provided people to make His comfort tangible to me. We are in a season where so many have suffered, be it due to hardship, isolation, illness or strife. For each time that we have known comfort in these things, we have been prepared to extend the same comfort to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, for He has shown us how to love and comfort those around us through His ongoing goodness and grace.

All praise to the Lord,

The God of all grace;

Our peace and comfort,

Throughout all our days.

Each time we struggle,

The Lord’s ever near;

Holds us in heartache,

And calms all our fears.

He shows us goodness,

When goodness seems gone;

Hope when we’re hopeless,

Strength to carry on.

Just as He shows us,

His love, hope and grace;

He leads and equips,

So we do the same.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You comfort us with Your faithful ways. Thank You that You call us and empower us to comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not reached out to those in need. Teach us to have Your eyes to see what we can do to comfort those around us, and Your heart to love as You love us. Show us how to love each other well, in good times and in bad, so that all might know the healing and help that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up those around us, and extend our hands and hearts to show Your tangible and unfailing love. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

The Process of Perfect Love

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, HCSB)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love changes our hearts and transforms our minds so that we too, might love as He loves. As humans, we are subject to sin and falling short, so the process of being transformed is one that requires an entire lifetime. That being said, it is a process that is well worth the while. When we allow God’s love to reconstruct our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own, we have the opportunity to show God’s love to all those around us. In this space of loving as God loves us, we can become His representatives of what love ought to be. The challenge is that when we do not choose to act in love, we are responding as the world does, and discrediting the heart of God for others. I say that not to bring shame, but rather to encourage each of us to seek to love God and love people (His creation) as He loves us. We all fall short, but what we do with our shortcomings makes all the difference. Are we quick to apologize and make amends, or do we ignore and let things go that can create a divide? The more I seek the Lord, the more I see opportunities all around me to show evidence of His love. Love is patient and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love never ends and has set before us the way to love well. (see 1 Corinthians 13) May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us might experience for themselves the goodness of God.

The love of the Lord,

Is greatest of all;

For it lifts us up,

Each time that we fall.

It brushes us off,

And fills us again;

Overwhelms with good,

As each day begins.

Press in, keep seeking,

For God’s always found;

Perfect love won’t fail,

Hope in Him is sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You fill and equip us to love like You as we seek You and depend on You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and failures when we did not choose love. Lead us in Your kindness so that we may love as You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your perfect love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us as You intended. Amen.

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

This is My command. Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Lead Us to Love Well

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs, – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate how clearly 1 Corinthians walks us through what love is, and what it is not. God’s love is perfect and people are not. We are broken and fall short, yet we have guidance to lead us to love well. When we pause to look around, we can see evidence of God’s love everywhere. There are those who exemplify this very sort of love beautifully. Two examples that God set before me include my grandmother and my own mom. Both of these women have always exemplified patience and kindness, were/are not easily upset, and did/do not keep record of wrongs. Arrogance was/has no part of who they were/are, and each has always considered others before themselves. Their modeling has continually compelled me to seek the Lord to lead me in love. We are all a work in progress, yet the more we seek the Lord to lead and empower us, the more readily we love well. May we ever seek the One who is love so that we too, may love as He intended.

Love’s patient and kind,

Mom and Gram ❤

Forgiving with grace;

God’s heart to extend,

Throughout all our days.

Love does not envy,

Not full of itself;

Love seeks ways to bless,

To reach out and help.

Love’s not conceited,

It’s humble and kind;

Keeping no records,

Leaves the past behind.

True love looks forward,

Chooses to endure;

Knows love is what lasts,

Faith and hope assured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Love, and that You show us what love is and what it is not. Thank You that we all have been created with the capacity to love and be loved. Forgive us for the times that we have not been patient or kind, when we have been envious or proud, when we’ve acted improperly, been selfish, or held a grudge. Teach us to love as You do, for Your love lasts forever. Lead us 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 seek You to lead us to love well. Amen.

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

This is what I command you: Love one another. – John 15:17

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

By Faith

By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible. – (Hebrews 11:3, HCSB)

Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by His command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, ERV)

Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinated by the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, TPT)

Currently, my love and I are in a connect group through church that is studying Hebrews. Last night as we met and discussed Hebrews 11, I was reminded again of the vastness of God. God, whom we cannot yet see, created all that we can see. His power, love, grace and goodness can be witnessed through all that is created that surrounds us. It is through the glimpses of God that we are given by people and creation around us, that we lay hold of faith in Him who we cannot see. The more that we learn to trust in the One whom we cannot see, the more tangible the invisible becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith as we continue to pursue the path that He has placed us upon. Let His love be made evident through our trust and reliance in Him.

By faith we can see,

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The beauty and grace;

All that’s created,

Through God’s loving ways.

The sky, land and sea,

Show us God’s great love;

Purposeful design,

By Him up above.

The invisible,

Can somehow be seen;

Love made tangible,

Through things in between.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can see evidence of Your goodness and love everywhere we look. Thank You that these things, and so much more, cause faith to rise up in what cannot be seen. Forgive us for the times that we have forgotten how You can take even the smallest glimmer of faith and grow it into something great. Teach us to seek You and trust in You, for You grow our faith through our understanding and experiences of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love in such a way that though invisible, love may be made tangible to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to grow our faith, for it is by faith that mountains move and lives are changed. Amen.

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

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

Let Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. – (Hebrews 13:1, HCSB)

Continue to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called to love one another. This love ought to be as sisters and brothers, for such love is patient and kind and does not end. I love how God shows us examples and illustrations of what He desires for us through everyday experiences around us. In our home, we have two dogs that are still in the puppy phase. They are three months apart and have gone through some growing pains as they have learned to get along. The two of them are rough and tumble and love to wrestle and play chase. At times, it sounds like they are going to throttle each other, but then moments later they are laying side by side or nose-to-nose, completely content in each other’s presence. They are fiercely protective of one another, and are unsettled when the other is not nearby. When on walks, Thor, our 95-pound Lab, moves to the outside so that Tali, our 70-pound Pittie who is fearful and reactive to cars, feels safe and will keep walking. How this translates as humans is the recognition of one another’s needs and the desire to care for and protect each other. Love is made tangible through the little things that we do to show one another that we are seen, known, and cared for. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us and direct us in how to love one another best, as we are called to do.

Lord, show us Your love,

So we use it well;

Lead us and guide us,

Let our actions tell.

Tell of Your goodness,

In love, extend grace;

Brothers and sisters,

With care choose embrace.

God show us today,

How to love like You;

All those around us,

So Your love rings true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love each other as brothers and sisters. Thank You that such love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Forgive us for the times that our attitude or actions toward one another have been lacking love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our Source and Supply that knows no end. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love one another with a love that knows no end. 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… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7

To Live and Love Well

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. – (Philippians 1:9, TLB)

Though this is from Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi, the message still resonates today. It is my prayer for myself and all those around me that our love will grow to overflowing, and that we would ever pursue knowledge and insight. God is gracious, and His love abounds more and more as He grants us insight and understanding of how deep and how wide His love is and how He has hand-crafted us to love well. Additionally, as we seek to know and understand more, He shows us more of who He is and how to care well for those around us. May we ever pursue the heart of God so that our love continues to grow as our understanding and insight expands.

May our love abound,

As we seek to grow;

Knowledge and insight,

To make His love known.

It’s through our pursuit,

That we come to know;

The depths of God’s love,

Then it overflows.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

And help us learn well,

The light of Your truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Paul’s prayer and exhortation to the Philippians is still relevant and applicable today. Thank You that as we seek You to lead us in love and grow our understanding and insight, You are faithful to show us more and more. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love and learn as You intended. Show us how to ever pursue Your heart and wisdom so that we may love out of the overflow that comes from knowing You. Teach us to love those around us with the same heart that You have for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made tangible. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your heart of love and Your wisdom and insight so that we may live and love well. Amen.

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

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24