The Purpose is Love

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, NIV)

My purpose in telling you to do this is to promote love – the kind of love shown by those who are pure, who do what they know is right, and whose faith in God is real. – (1 Timothy 1:5, ERV)

Our teaching about this journey is intended to bring us to a single destination – a place where self-giving love reigns from a pure heart, a clean conscience, and  genuine faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, VOICE)

Our call, command and purpose is to love. This is not merely some romantic love or infatuation, rather God’s love is sincere, from a pure heart and a genuine faith, that ever seeks to lift up, do right, and encourage the best in others. I imagine we all can think of people who have shown us love like this. Those individuals are God’s gifts to us. Each models what it means to love as God intended, and their loving kindness has been and continues to be an encouragement to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, purify our hearts, cleanse our conscience, and grow in a genuine faith.

The purpose is love,

In all that we do;

Our ultimate goal,

To learn to love true.

For God has shown us,

What it is to love;

Without conditions,

He gives from above.

Love overwhelming,

With goodness and grace;

It meets us always,

As we seek God’s face.

May we learn to love,

With hearts that are true;

That choose give freely,

As we’re called to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love, not out of our own selfish desires or ambitions, but rather from a pure heart, clean conscience, and genuine faith. Thank You that this is not dependent on our own reserves, but rather is endlessly supplied as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your goodness to them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and grow us in Your love, and as a result, give love to all as You have designed us to do. Amen.

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

I delight to do Your will, my God; Your instruction lives within me. – Psalm 40:8

Seek Now

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, HCSB)

So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to Him now, while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, ERV)

Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand. – (Isaiah 55:6, MSG)

So turn your attention and seek the Eternal One while it is still possible; call on Him while He is nearby. – (Isaiah 55:6, VOICE)

The thing about this is that God is eternal and we are not. We all have an expiration date that we cannot predict. Our time to seek the Lord is now, and we can call on Him, for He is near. As we pray, we discover His nearness. This is not about being or doing enough, but rather taking the opportunity to get to know the Creator of all, personally. He knows us far better than we know ourselves and has a plan and a purpose for our lives. That being said, God is not pushy or demanding, and He did not create us to be robots. We were each individually designed with gifts and talents and a free will. It is up to us to seek Him to get to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we want to know Him. God’s grace, goodness, kindness and love go far beyond what we can comprehend. When our attention is directed to Him and our focus on being still before Him, we grow in our understanding and our heart grows in our own capacity to love as He loves us. May we ever turn our attention to God and seek Him, for He is faithful to meet us each time we do.

As we seek the Lord,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He’s near to be found;

Our time has limits,

Hope in Him is sound.

God is eternal,

On earth, we are not;

Our hope forever,

Granted as He’s sought.

So, turn to Jesus,

Lord God on His throne;

He’s waiting for us,

To make His heart known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and reveal more and more of Yourself to us. Thank You that we have access to You at all times and in all places. Forgive us for taking Your nearness for granted, or for assuming we will always have more time later to do what ought to be done now. Teach us to seek You with intention; to purposefully sit in Your presence and listen to Your leading. 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 seek You and spend time in Your presence now, for we know not what tomorrow may hold. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

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)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Faithful Love Follows

But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. – (Psalm 103:17-18, HCSB)

But the Lord has always loved His followers, and He will continue to love them forever and ever! He will be good to all their descendants, to those who are faithful to His agreement and who remember to obey His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, ERV)

But the unfailing love of the Eternal is always and eternal for those who reverently run after Him. He extends His justice on and on to future generations, to those who will keep His bond of love and remember to walk in the guidance of His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, VOICE)

My maternal grandmother was the epitome of a person who was faithful to follow after God, and she loved and prayed for us all. Her kind and loving ways were an example to each of us, and I can see the fruit of her faithfulness to our family. Though not all of the grandchildren choose to follow after God, I can see His hand in all of our lives, for He has protected and provided for us all. My hope is that I might grow in grace and follow in her footsteps. Grandchildren are not on the radar anytime soon, yet I pray for and love our kids as I have been loved and prayed for. God is faithful, and I can see the fruit of my own mom’s faithful prayers in her grandchildren. Each has been protected and held, despite the challenges that life provides. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to follow Him whole-heartedly, and to faithfully love and pray for our children and their children to follow. 

The Lord is faithful,

Gram and some of her great-grandkids.

To those who seek Him;

His presence assured,

As He is asked in.

His love – unfailing,

For He remains near;

To those who ask Him,

His presence is clear.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Carries on and on;

To those who seek Him,

His love is shown strong.

May we continue,

To love and lift up;

Our kids and their kids,

So faith is built up.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to those who seek You, and to their descendants that follow. Thank You that You show us what it looks like to faithfully follow You through our parents and grandparents. Forgive us for the times that we have not set the example that You intended. Teach us to pursue You whole-heartedly and to lift up and love well our children and their children to come. Show us how to love as You love, so that Your heart may be made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek You and pursue a life of loving those around us as You do. 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. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Stand Firm

So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stand firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

We are called to stand firm and be strong in who God has called us to be, and in what He calls us to do. No matter how seen or behind the scenes it is, God will use what we offer in love. Everything matters, from the smallest act of kindness to the greatest sacrifice, all is used for good when the heart behind it is for God. May we ever stay firmly planted in the good that God calls us to do, and trust that He is working, even when we cannot see the evidence of an impact. 

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that we are all uniquely designed with different talents and gifts to share. Thank You that every act of kindness matters. Forgive us for thinking that our choice to love does not matter and for the times that we have neglected to act in love. Teach us to stand firm in You at all times and in every circumstance. Lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in Your love and Your purposes for us. Amen.

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

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Live Wisely and Do Good

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV) 

So be very careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, ERV) 

So be careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, TPT) 

How we live matters. To live well requires wisdom and a choice to make the most of every opportunity to do good and live for His purposes. Evil exists in the world, but we can overcome evil with good. We can either allow the darkness to overcome us, or we can be light bearers and bring good wherever we go. No one is perfect, yet we can ever purposefully pursue His best for how we live out our days. When we are intentional to seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we walk in His wisdom and grace that leads us to love as we are loved by Him. May we ever be careful how we live; choosing wisdom and the pursuit of good toward all. 

Choose live carefully, 

Use wisdom and grace; 

To love and do good, 

Throughout all our days. 

Though there is evil, 

True good overcomes; 

Wise, loving living, 

Shows how good is done. 

So, ever pursue, 

God’s purpose for us; 

Be bearers of light, 

Just like our Jesus. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the evil in the world, You are good, and good overcomes every darkness. Thank You that You designed each of us to be bearers of light and to do good. Forgive us for the times that we have not. Show us how to listen to Your leading, so that we may do good and love well. Teach us to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You grant us wisdom to do good, regardless of what surrounds us. Amen. 

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

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

Peace in His Protection

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – (Psalm 5:11, NIV)

But let those who trust in You be happy forever. Protect and strengthen those who love Your Name. – (Psalm 5:11, ERV)

But make everyone rejoice who puts his trust in You. Keep them shouting for joy because You are defending them. Fill all who love You with Your happiness. – (Psalm 5:11, TLB)

 

This morning, I am able to rejoice and be glad, for I know that God protected me. That being said, it was sadly, not my first response, as I discovered my flight to Reno was cancelled last evening. Though my husband had called me and given me a heads up that the city was experiencing high winds, and the landing would likely be quite turbulent, somehow, the severity of the weather did not really register in my mind. Then, after patiently sitting at my gate for over an hour, as I had breezed through security in five minutes, I received a text from my airline, notifying me that my flight had been cancelled and that I had been booked on another flight. At first, I merely thought I needed to find a new gate, but upon closer investigation, I had the revelation that the new flight had not been scheduled until twelve hours later. My initial reaction was frustration, as I was uncertain as to how I would get home and back to the airport again in the morning, and questioned why my flight was cancelled in the first place. After speaking with a kind ticket agent, who helped make certain I was all set for my flight this morning, it slowly dawned on me that not only my flight, but all the flights that evening, were cancelled into Reno, due to the high winds. Turbulence is not my friend, and staying safe while flying is of critical importance. After a good night’s sleep in my own bed, I am grateful that I was protected and kept safe, and am still happily anticipating the time I will have to spend with family for the remainder of the weekend with my husband, who is already in Reno. May we ever rejoice and place our trust in God, for He protects us and strengthens us with His goodness and love.

 

In gladness, let’s choose, wp-1584191585308302554288701485916.jpg

Take refuge in God;

Our safe hiding place,

Where peace is installed.

Even when events,

Makes no sense at all;

His purpose for us,

To love, it’s our call.

As we choose to trust,

It’s quite plain to see;

How He protects us,

Ever lovingly.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always trust in You. Thank You that as we do, You are protecting and strengthening us, even when we have no idea how or why. Thank You that You see and know the entire story, not just the portion that our limited sights can see. Forgive us for our frustration when things don’t seem to go according to our own plans. Teach us to trust You and Your plans, as often the disruptions are simply for our protection. Show us how to love those around us as we navigate uncharted territory. Help us to live and love generously. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for Your protection, strength and love that never leaves us and always has our best in mind. Amen.

 

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

 

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. – Proverbs 29:25

Love Fulfills the Law

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:9-10, NIV)

The law says, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder anyone, you must not steal, you must not want what belongs to someone else.” All these commands and all other commands are really only one rule: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:9-10, ERV)

For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” and every other commandment can be summed up in these words: “Love and value others the same way you love and value yourself.” Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:9-10, TPT)

 

This really sums up so much. Our charge, our call, our purpose, above all else, is to LOVE. If we truly love as God intended, we are obeying and honoring God, and showing the world what love really means. The “Golden Rule” is similarly based on this sort of love. To do unto others as we want done unto us, is the same as loving our neighbors as ourselves. Isn’t that what everyone ultimately desires? To love and be loved in return? It is no surprise that the longing within us aligns with the intent and purpose for which we were created. It is the most difficult to love when the recipient of our choice to love does not do the same in return. However, we are called to love anyway. Often, the repeated extension of kindness breaks down the barriers that are blocking another from receiving or giving love. Once they begin to see, know and understand that it is genuine, they become more willing to receive and return what is given. May we ever choose to love others as we desire to be loved; for this is what we are called and commanded to do.

 

Choose love each other, Ambassadors of Love

As we’d like love back;

For this is our charge,

To do as God asks.

All those whom we meet,

Are neighbors indeed;

Ready for kindness,

Love’s a human need.

Each time that we choose,

To give love away;

We’re following God,

For love is His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Thank You that You do not just command it, but You have shown us again and again what it is to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You would want us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness, mercy and grace, even in the face of adversity and ugliness. Show us how to love all of those You have placed around us in ways that make Your heart tangible to them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Clear Acts of Mercy

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, NIV)

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

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see the new Star Wars movie. What I love about the Star Wars series is that there is an ongoing theme of “good triumphs over evil” as the saga between the Imperial Empire and the Rebellion continues throughout with new generations of Jedi. Without being a spoiler, it was clear acts of mercy and choosing good that brought about Jedi success – both at pivotal moments in the movie, and as the story concluded. In real life, the same holds true when we choose to extend mercy and goodness, denying our initial thought of revenge or retaliation. God’s grace enters in, and something happens in the hearts of both the merciful and the one receiving grace, to change the circumstance for the better. It may not be immediate and dramatic, but such acts of love and mercy make their way into hearts, and one cannot help but be changed as the recipient of undeserved mercy. That is how Christ came to us. While we were yet sinners, He loved. In our darkness and ugliness, He brought light and life and love. May we choose to go forth in the goodness of God, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, all of the days of our lives.

 

The Lord has shown us,Clear Acts of Mercy

What it is to love;

Act justly, give grace,

Like God up above.

As we humbly walk,

And follow the Lord;

We love as He loves,

Mercy is outpoured.

For each act of grace,

And mercy we choose;

Is a way to show,

God’s blessed good news.

For He came to us,

Full of love and grace;

Teaches us mercy,

As we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Thank You that You modeled a life lived accordingly through Your Son, and equip us to do the same by Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we neglect Your still small voice within that tells us how to act justly and live mercifully in You. Teach us to listen and follow Your leading, so that we may humbly walk beside You, extending mercy, grace and goodness to all. Show us how to love those around us in this way, even when it is difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the kindness and mercy that You continually show unto us. Let our lives be an offering of the overflow of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10