May Love Unite Us

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with His comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt His tender affection and mercy. So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity – with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. – (Philippians 2:1-2, TPT)

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Philippi is still applicable and relevant to us today. If we know and understand the love, comfort, mercy and kindness that God has shown us, then we ought to go and do likewise. As we do, we are united in purpose. It does not mean we have to see the world through the same lens, nor have the same opinion about things, rather, it is a matter of us choosing to love one another as the priority. When we do, we discover unity and harmony in the relationships around us. Such things bring joy to all. May we ever look to the Lord and recognize His overwhelming kindness, love and mercy, so that we too, can choose to love as we are loved by Christ.

Choose be encouraged,

By mercy and grace;

Let love overflow,

From seeking His face.

For all that is good,

Comes down from above;

Love, mercy and grace,

Because God is love.

Love that’s unending,

Kindness that’s made new;

Fresh each new morning,

May all know the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your love, kindness and grace as we trust in You and seek You face. Forgive us for the times that we have not given out of the overflow of all that You have given us. Teach us to trust You more to lead us to love like You. Show us how in each situation and circumstance that we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love and encourage best, so that love may unite us all. Amen.

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. – Colossians 2:2

Choose Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV) 

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV) 

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT) 

After navigating the first week of school, despite all of the challenges and adjustments to an entirely new way of teaching, I find myself with a heart full of joy. God is good, all the time. Even when things are tough, He is still good. When we seek Him and look to Him to be our joy, we discover the countless ways that He is good. For me, the best thing about remote learning is my new group of kids. These sixth graders are sweet, polite, engaged, and have wonderful senses of humor. There is something to be said about keeping these great kids from too much exposure to the older kids, as they too quickly attempt to change who they are to fit in, during a “normal” school year. As I began to read the surveys that I had my students submit, my joy multiplied. From favorite family traditions to things that inspire them to do their best, these young people blessed my heart to overflowing, and joy abounds. I am reminded again and again, that God grants me joy, and fills my heart to overflowing. May we rejoice in the Lord, always, for He plants His joy deep within us, and fills our days with reason to praise. 

Be cheerful. Find joy, 

In each circumstance; 

For the Lord grants us, 

Hope and second chance. 

Even in trials, 

The Lord’s always good; 

Grants silver lining, 

His hope understood. 

Each day we’re given, 

Help us to rejoice; 

Joy on the journey, 

Is truly a choice. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and bless us with Your deep-rooted joy as we seek You. Thank You that there is always a reason to rejoice in You. Forgive us for our frustration and grumbling when things become difficult. Teach us to rejoice in the hope we have in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread joy in all things and all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in You, always. Amen. 

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

…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Out With the Old Self

The rhododendron on the side of our house is an interesting illustration of death and new life. It seems that perhaps it is two plants growing Out With the Old Self 1so closely together, that their branches are intertwined. Last week, there were fuchsia-colored blooms. Now, those formerly lovely bursts of color, hang lifeless and void of color. However, this week there are new blooms in a pretty pink, beginning to open.

 

Our old life may have seemed appealing, until we discovered just how lifeless and void of color it really was without Christ. Being stuck in the bonds of sin, we had no hope to escape our patterns, without Christ coming in. Yet, while we were still stuck in that space, He pursued us, and brought people around us to present the truth. As we opened our hearts and lives to all that He had to offer, we were set free from our sin and given new life. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. – (Romans 6:6)

 

He took all of our sin upon Himself as He hung on the cross, so that we would be set free from our sinful nature and given a helper (the Holy Spirit) to lead us into a new life, free from the bondage of sin. Though we will still make mistakes, and fall short, we may go to God and ask for His forgiveness, as He grants us grace anew. Knowing what He has done, propels us to seek to live a life that honors Him who has set us free. May we be slaves to righteousness, as we are united with Him.

 

Gone are the old ways,Out With the Old Self 2

they’ve been crucified;

the sin, scorn and shame,

with Jesus, they died.

And just as He rose,

His life was restored;

in Him we shall find,

His grace is outpoured.

If we choose to seek,

we surely shall find;

freedom from our sin,

the hope for mankind.

Let’s give Him our chains,

for in Him, we’re free;

all honor to Christ,

the King of Glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bore all of our sin and shame, so that we would no longer be slaves to our sinful nature, but that we could instead, live unto You. Thank You that this is not something that we are meant to do on our own, but rather You gave us Your Holy Spirit to be our help. Thank You too, that You call us to be a body, supporting one another in community, so that each can be challenged, encouraged and held up as we pursue You with our whole hearts. Forgive us for taking lightly the enormity of Your sacrifice, and help us to recognize in awe, the magnitude of Your grace. Let us live and love in such a way, that our gratitude is evident to all whom we encounter. May many come to know Your amazing grace, and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41