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

Wisdom Leads to a Lovely Life

Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. – (Proverbs 3:17, HCSB)

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. – (Proverbs 3:17, NLT)

Wisdom from God is what leads us to joy and peace. His wisdom shows us the ways we are meant to go, and guides us throughout all of our days. When we listen to His leading, we know joy and peace in Him, no matter what lies ahead. In this season of seemingly unending curves and treacherous hills, knowing His nearness and listening to His leading are the things that make our paths plain and our vision eternal. As we learn to look through the Lord’s lens of love, we discover pleasant paths and true peace are found as we faithfully follow our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we discover His ways that lead us to a life full of His joy and peace.

Wisdom is waiting,

As we seek the Lord;

His ways are pleasant,

As grace, He affords.

He brings us His joy,

And provides His peace;

His wisdom, guides us,

And supplies our needs.

So, keep seeking God,

And wisdom He gives;

He’ll show us the ways,

That we’re meant to live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your wisdom leads us to pleasant paths and fills our lives with joy. Thank You that the wisdom in knowing You is what grants us hope and peace. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, or for attempting to navigate in our own knowledge. Teach us to seek You in all things, for You are faithful to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Fill us with Your wisdom that makes plain the paths that we are meant to take. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that peace and joy are passed along to all those we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom to lead us and provide us with Your peace and joy forever. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – Psalm 90:12

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Provision

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

(We pray) that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

This morning, as I was reading my devotions, my phone began buzzing beside me. When I realized what was happening, I quickly slid the bar to access the video chat that was coming in. My dear friend was calling from Burundi. She knows that I am an early riser, so I will happily chat in the wee hours of the morning when it is well into the afternoon there. Anyway, seeing the joy on her and her husband’s faces after more than fourteen months apart, waiting, showed me a tangible example of just how prayers such as Colossians 1:11 apply. The two of them have been surrounded and covered in prayer, and have been patiently enduring the wait, and continuing to communicate, trust and wait with joy. Because of Covid, the spousal visa that should have taken a week or two, has taken well over a year. They have reached the home stretch of the wait, but have to continue to endure until the interview appointment is scheduled and done. Thankfully, the visa has been approved, and it is just one more step before they are at long last together for good. May we ever lift each other up in prayer, for strength, endurance, patience and joy. God is good, and His love endures through all things.

Patient endurance,

A gift from the Lord;

Joy in the waiting,

All grace God affords.

When we turn to Him,

His love leads us through;

Strength to press forward,

Into what is new.

All thanks be to God,

For goodness and joy;

May we turn to Him,

As love He employs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and keep us in Your loving care as we face challenges and endure hardships that require seasons of waiting. Thank You that You provide joy, despite our circumstances. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith when seasons seem far longer than anticipated. Teach us to trust and give thanks to You, for even in our challenges, You are near to love, strengthen and equip us with all that we need. Show us how to love those around us with joy and grace, so that Your goodness may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your provision in all situations and circumstances. Amen.

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

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Matthew 6:33

Love in All

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, HCSB)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

We are called and commanded to love because God is love. Incredibly, we are created to love, and each of us give and receive love differently. No matter how we best express love, He sees and receives what we offer. If we were to love God with our whole heart and soul, every word we say, every decision we make, and every action we take would be unto Him. Learning to love God completely is a lifelong process. In the same way that we grow to love those around us more as we are intentional to spend time and invest in relationships, the same is true with God. The more we know Him, the more deeply we love Him and want Him to be a part of everything we say and do. May we continually pursue the Lord in love, so that we grow to love as we were created to love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all that we do;

May our hearts align,

So we honor You.

With all of our heart,

And all of our soul;

With all of our strength,

Lifelong love, the goal.

For how You love us,

Lead us to love too;

With all that we are,

Give praise unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that the more we get to know You, the greater our love grows for You and for all those You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for staying stagnant rather than continually seeking to grow. Teach us to lean into all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to learn to love You more in every area of our lives. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. 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 to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

To Magnify

Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, HCSB)

Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. You made all things. Everything existed and was made because You wanted it. – (Revelation 4:11, ERV)

Worthy are You, O Lord; worthy are You, O God, to receive glory and honor and power. You alone created all things, and through Your will and by Your design, they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, VOICE)

God intentionally created all things. For this and so much more, He is the One who deserves all of our honor and praise. Today, on day ten of our twenty-one days of intentional prayer, the title of the guide is Magnify God. To magnify anything, we must look closely and intentionally to see all that is. The closer and more carefully we look, the more in-focus intricate details become. With God, as we magnify Him, we discover more of His heart for us and how deeply and completely He loves. “He is our Author, our Maker, our Ransom, our Savior, our Refuge, our Hiding Place; our Hope in the shadows, our Strength in the battle, our Anchor for all our days.” (Worthy of Your Name by Passion Conferences) When I began thinking about the characteristics of God, immediately my mind was flooded with the above listed song lyrics. They beautifully capture an accurate magnification of who God is and what He does for us. May we ever be intentional to magnify God and give Him all glory and honor and praise for who He is.

Our loving Author,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Who graciously gives;

Maker, Creator,

Of all that there is.

He is our Ransom,

In love, took our place;

The Savior of all,

Who choose seek His face.

In Him, there is hope,

Even when all’s dark;

He’s strength in weakness,

Through love, He imparts.

Our Anchor to hold,

No matter the storm;

Where we shall find peace,

Our Comfort and warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can magnify You as we seek You and walk in the light of Your love. Thank You that any time that we are intentional to seek and look closely at who You are and how You love, we discover countless reasons to praise You. Forgive us for not being intentional to pause and recognize who You are and how You love often enough. Teach us to glorify You in everything that we do. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly represent Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally investigate who You are and how You love so that we can properly magnify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. – Psalm 145:1

Forgive and Love

All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, HCSB)

Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, ERV)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, MSG)

Being kind and compassionate takes practice and dependence on God. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are doing or what we need to accomplish or where we need to go, that we forget that everyone around us is doing the same, and we know not what is going on in their world. From the slow or distracted driver in front of us, to the person who has parked their cart in the center of the aisle, we are called to be kind and gentle. I have been both the giver and the recipient of both types of responses – frustration and anger, and those of gentleness and kindness. The difference a kind, gentle or loving response makes, especially on difficult days, compels me to seek God to help me do likewise. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities to practice. I have not “arrived”, but I continue to seek God for strength and compassion so that I might respond as Jesus responds to us. May we ever seek the Lord and His love for one another so that all anger and frustration are kept in check, and His love leads us in all that we say and do.

Let go of anger,

All malice and rage;

Instead, choose kindness,

Lovingly engage.

As Christ has loved us,

We need love others;

Extend care and grace,

To sisters, brothers.

Each has a story,

That we do not know;

Our kindness offered,

Is how love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to release anger and ugliness and equip us to give love, kindness and gentleness as You do for us. Forgive us for our anger, frustration and impatience that comes when we focus on ourselves. Teach us to be otherly with all those around us. Give us compassion and love to extend to all. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to be the people that You have called and created us to be. Amen.

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

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:13

Tangible Love for the Common Good

Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. – (Hebrews 13:16, HCSB)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice” – that take place in the kitchen and workplace and on the streets. – (Hebrews 13:16, MSG)

God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He supplies us with all that we need. Our purpose is to love God and love people. To truly love requires actions, not mere words. His love and care for us is made evident when we see, feel and understand how He cares for the smallest details in our lives. A thoughtful gesture, a kind word, a helping hand – all provide evidence of God’s goodness made tangible. So many times God uses people to demonstrate the abundance of His goodness and love for us. I cannot even count the times that I have been blessed, encouraged or built up through the loving kindness of others in exactly the way that I needed. God’s hand and heart were evident, and His love for me, overwhelming. Each one of us has the opportunity to demonstrate His love every day. When we choose to be led by His love, we see spaces that need light and life and love and are able to reach out and do something tangible for another. May we seek the Lord in prayer and listen to His leading, so that we may be His ambassadors of love throughout each new day.

Let us not neglect,

To love and do good;

To choose be aware,

How love’s understood.

For it is not words,

That show love alone;

But rather actions,

That make His love known.

Encouraging words,

A tangible touch;

A need that is met,

Truly means so much.

Lord, show us the needs,

Where we can reach out;

So we might love well,

Show what love’s about.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give abundantly in love. Forgive us for the times that we have taken anything for granted and have neglected to work for the common good. Teach us to look for opportunities to bless and give and love well. Show us how to love each person that we encounter, whether it is through meeting a need, giving a helping hand, or extending words of encouragement that are intentional and specific. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to offer worship unto You through the things we do in love. Amen.

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

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – Ephesians 4:2