Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself up for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.- (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Called to Community

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time. – (Proverbs 17:17, HCSB)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. If we invest in time with friends and family, we grow close and are ready to walk alongside each other, no matter what comes our way. True investment connects hearts and lives, and provides opportunity to love and be loved as God intended. Though a simple concept, it requires intentional investment. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to invest in our relationships with friends and family, and to equip us to love and help one another at all times.

No matter what comes,

We are called to seek;

Time with each other,

In community.

When one friend falls down,

Another is near;

To help the one up,

And overcome fear.

Together there’s strength,

The power to move;

Hope to keep going,

And fear is removed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created and called us to be in community. Thank You for the friends and family that You have placed around us. Thank You for the gift of loving and being loved. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in those You have placed around us. Teach us to know the balance of time and energy that will grow depth in our community without depleting us of necessary rest. Show us how to love well, so that our friends and family know that they always have someone in their corner, ready to walk beside them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are the ultimate Father and friend. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the family and friends around us, and seek You to lead us to love one another well. Amen.

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

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

The Best Teacher

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

The Eternal One, who rescued you, the Holy One of Israel declares, “I am the Eternal One your God. I have given you My instruction for living well and right, leading you in how you should be and do.” – (Isaiah 48:17, VOICE)

I am so thankful that God is the same: yesterday, today and forever! The same God who loved and led the Israelites so long ago, has lovingly led us and will continue to do so until He returns. When we seek Him and truly listen, He shows us what is best and leads us in the ways that we are meant to go. Though the Israelites had God made tangible to them through a cloud and with fire, we have the tremendous blessing of knowing how Jesus lived and loved as God intended for all of us. He sent His Spirit after Jesus ascended, and we now have God made tangible, dwelling in the hearts of all who believe. Because of this, we see glimpses of God everywhere. His reassurance is real as we press into time with Him and come to understand that He will never leave us or forsake us. May we ever seek the living God who teaches us what is good and leads us in the ways that we are meant to go in all things.

The Lord is faithful,

To lovingly lead;

Throughout all our days,

As we trust, believe.

He shows us the ways,

That we’re meant to go;

When we’re to harvest,

And when we’re to sow.

His presence is clear,

As we look around;

His good abundant,

And hope in Him, sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You teach us what is best for us and where we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly lead and guide us throughout all our days. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to listen. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You know the outcome before we begin and there is purpose in the places You call us to. Show us how to love those around us like You, with purpose and goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in all things. 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

The Lord’s Great Works

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, NIV)

The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, HCSB)

The Lord does wonderful things, more than anyone could ask for. – (Psalm 111:2, ERV)

The works of the Eternal are many and wondrous! They are examined by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, VOICE)

The works of God are always something to delight in as we ponder all that He has done. It takes but a moment to create a long list of how the Lord has moved in my life and the lives of those around me. He is good, and He does wonderful things for all who seek Him. All things, great and small, He uses to bless and encourage us to trust in Him. Even something so simple as peace in our household, God cares and can make it happen. 

We were among the many that adopted puppies during Covid. First, we were able to get a sweet male yellow lab. He came to us at seven weeks, and has been an energetic spaz ever since. Four months after bringing Thor home, a friend of mine was fostering my husband’s dream dog in Arizona. After much discussion and deliberating, we were able to bring home a sweet and feisty blue nose little girl. At this point, Thor was nearly nine months, and Tali was a bit over four months. In the beginning, the two were fast friends. However, several months later, we began having issues with them brawling. Not just wrestling, but fighting that drew blood. It was an agonizing six months or so of having to alternate every hour, which dog was upstairs and which was downstairs in their own crate. Slowly, we began reintroducing time together, and it was solidified best when they were walked together on a splitter leash. 

Now, all these months later, the two still like to wrestle and play, but we have learned what to do if one is a bit amped up to calm them down, and to get them to give each other space. They truly love each other, and Tali wants her big brother to play every waking moment of every day. This is a small example of God’s faithfulness and wondrous works, as at one point, we were not sure we would be able to keep them both. God cares about even the small things. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and strength, and watch and wait as He moves in wonderful ways.

The Lord is so good,

His love wonderful;

His heart is for us,

He cares about all.

He loves beyond words,

All created things;

He blesses with peace,

His goodness He brings.

When we look around,

And see how He’s moved;

Our hearts overflow,

By how love is proved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonderful works in our lives. Thank You that You love us and care about all aspects of our lives. Thank You that You see and know, and You give us Your strength and endurance to keep moving forward to the good that You have in store for us all. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of fortitude when things are challenging. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our strength and peace as we patiently  wait. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reflect on the wondrous things that You have done and place our trust in You for all that lies ahead. Amen.

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

For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

Ever Near

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This is the goal for sure, to keep the Lord in mind always and to remember that He is ever present with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Whatever He calls us to, He will see us through. It does not mean that it will be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Whether we have known Jesus the majority of our lives or for a short while, it is good to be reminded of how very near He is. When we are aware of His presence, fear flees and we find we are equipped and empowered to move forward into all that He is asking. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to spend time with Him, as it is through our drawing near that we are reminded that the Lord is but a heartbeat away.

O Lord, You are good,

Chasing sunsets on Oahu.<3

Ever near to me;

My help and my hope,

For eternity.

As close as my hand,

You stay by my side;

Your nearness is clear,

As I choose abide.

Remind us, O God,

Of Your strength and grace;

How present You are,

When we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us and ever ready to help us and strengthen us so that we can press on. Thank You that we need not fear because You are with us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your nearness. Teach us to trust in Your goodness and grace that is ever with us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your nearness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever aware of Your nearness. Amen.

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

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. – Psalm 145:18

The Goodness of God

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the work of Your hands. – (Psalm 92:4, HCSB)

Lord, You make us very happy because of what You did. I gladly sing about it. Lord, You did such great things. Your thoughts are too hard for us to understand. – (Psalm 92:4, ERV)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. – (Psalm 92:4, VOICE)

God is always good. It is important to pause and take inventory of His faithfulness in our lives. When we look back, we can see how God has been present throughout all our days. There is evidence of His loving kindness and the work of His hands, as we remember what He has brought us through. I am in awe of how He provides and moves when we seek Him. After a crazy school year, it is incredible how in a mere four days, I am feeling rested and refreshed. My heart sings in response to the joy that rises as I reflect on His goodness. May we ever recognize God’s presence and help throughout our days, and sing for joy in thanksgiving for His goodness.

The goodness of God,

Is beyond compare;

In love, He meets us,

Shows us tender care.

His strength upholds us,

As He leads us on;

Kindness unending,

By grace we’re made strong.

Strong to keep moving,

In love and with grace;

May we give God praise,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and do great things in our lives as You remind us of Your faithfulness and goodness. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You for Your presence and love. Teach us to recognize Your nearness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Answer Gently

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

Unity Through Love

Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say. That there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, VOICE)

It seems that what we are called to do is the very opposite of what popular culture is trying to instill in us. Everywhere I look, there are calls for division rather than unity. Instead of working to agree on the main things, and agreeing to disagree on lesser things, people are pitted against one another without conversation or seeking to understand. This space of agreeing with one another provides a place for unity. It must start within our households, then our churches, and then expand to communities at large. Our charge and our call is to love God and love one another. If we are earnestly seeking the Lord to lead us to do both, unity will follow. There is no room for hate and dissent if love is what leads. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might be joined together in common purpose as we love one another.

To live united,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Is God’s own great plan;

He leads us in love,

Helps us understand.

For where we seek Him,

He will show the way;

To rise together,

United in faith.

For where there is faith,

There too should be love;

United purpose,

From the Lord above.

Turn off the tv,

And choose stop the scroll;

Seek the Lord to love,

As goodness unfolds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan for us is to be united, not divided. Thank You that it is by Your love that we can find common ground and choose to agree to love. Forgive us for the times that we have found ourselves caught up in the dissent. Please redirect our hearts to focus on love. Show us how to be united instead of divided. Lead us to love on purpose with purpose, so that we may become united with those around us. Teach us to love those around us with different views and perspectives in a way that unites us together by choosing to love first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love You and those around us in ways that bring unity.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

With Kindness and Compassion

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, HCSB)

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

Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King. – (Ephesians 4:32, VOICE)

If we were to approach every human interaction with kindness and compassion, and were quick to forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven, people would understand the heart of God. We know not the battles that others are facing. Just last week there were five major losses or concerns that weighed on me as the week unfolded. Each day, it seemed, I was met with news of a tragedy or a major medical concern among family and friends. Thankfully, my concerns were met with kindness and compassion and grace. The sort of human-interaction that was extended to me, I was in turn, able to extend to others. When we are intentional to seek God, He shows us His goodness and love, even in the midst of heaviness and heartache. This morning, as I prepare to attend a memorial for a friend’s husband, I feel equipped with kindness and compassion, ready to extend help and hope where so much has been lost. May we continually seek the Lord in all things and at all times so that we might extend the same kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness that we are given through Him.

The Lord is gracious,

Photo by Anna Tarazevich

He’s loving and kind;

Full of compassion,

In Him, we align.

He forgives our faults,

Calls us to the same;

As we extend grace,

We honor His Name.

O Lord, please lead us,

To love as You do;

Ever forgiving,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be kind and compassionate to one another, full of forgiveness and love. Thank You that You not only show us these things over and over again, but You equip us to go and do likewise as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love, compassion, kindness or forgiveness when interacting with those around us. Teach us to seek You first to fill us and lead us in Your love. Show us how to extend kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love in tangible ways to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to lead us to love as You so completely love us all. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Good and Faithful Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1, HCSB)

Thank God because He’s good, because His love never quits. – (Psalm 118:1, MSG)

Give thanks to the Eternal because He is always good. He never ceases to be loving and kind. – (Psalm 118:1, VOICE)

This morning, this verse is so fitting. As I sit and gaze out at the sea, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities that God provides, and the beauty of His creation. Even on difficult days, He is good. His love never leaves us and His mercies are new every morning. May we embrace the loving kindness that He provides and give Him thanks for His unending goodness. 

All thanks be to God,

For He is so good;

His love never quits,

His grace is assured.

Forever He’s kind,

His mercy is new;

Every morning,

He shows His love’s true.

Each rise of the sun,

Brings light to the day;

New strength is supplied,

To walk in His way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and that Your loving kindness knows no end. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to give You thanks for who You are and how You love. Teach us to recognize the glory of Your goodness and the magnitude of Your grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – I Chronicles 16:34