Love Deeply

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, HCSB)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

This is critically important in culture today. Currently, it is the seeming norm for people to blast those who do not share the same opinion as themselves rather than choosing to love and simply scroll past. Humans are allowed to have their own opinions. No one truly knows what has led a person to view the world through their lens, so name-calling or worse on social media is not going to change their view. Rather, if we love intensely and deeply, we can accept our differences and forgive or look past perceived faults. The more we love, the more willing we become to forgive, and consequently, we begin to value differing opinions and perspectives. Every day is new, and we are meant to treat it accordingly. If we hold onto hurts and disdain for another person, we are only poisoning ourselves. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love one another deeply and allow His love to cover us and teach us to forgive.

Choose to love deeply,

Forgive and give grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

We are created,

To love as God loves;

Forgive each other,

Like the Lord above.

God, give us Your eyes,

So we truly see;

The power love gives,

To set our hearts free.

Help us to choose love,

Despite what is done;

Grant us Your wisdom,

God, most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another. Thank You that love like Yours forgives and covers sin. Thank You that You first loved us in this way, as You forgive us each time we ask, and love us no matter what. Forgive us for our lack of love when people cross us or have different values than our own. Show us how to love well, no matter how others view the world. Lead us to bless and encourage and begin everyday with a clean slate. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love deeply and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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

Accept Each Other

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

You will bring God glory when you accept and welcome one another as partners, just as the Anointed One has fully accepted you and received you as His partner. – (Romans 15:7, TPT)

To love one another, we must accept one another, flaws and all. There will never be another human that is perfect in every way. We are all a work in progress. God calls us to love and acceptance, which means that we recognize and value others for who they are. When we see, know and accept one another, we recognize the strengths that others possess and can celebrate the gift that they are to us. Though not all whom we encounter will become our closest friends, we can still accept one another and extend kindness, just as Jesus has done for us. As we do, Christ’s love is made evident and His peace permeates the spaces we are in. May we ever seek to accept one another as Christ accepts us, just as we are, no matter what shape we are in.

Lord, show us the way,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To extend love true;

Accept each other,

Value through and through.

For love’s clearly shown,

As hearts are received;

With kind acceptance,

Extensions of peace.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

So all feel valued,

As Your heart shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first accepted and loved us so that we might go forth and do the same. Thank You that as we seek to see others through Your eyes, we begin to understand the treasure that each person is to You. Forgive us for every time that our words, thoughts or deeds have not clearly reflected Your love and acceptance to those around us. Teach us how to love and accept one another as You do. Show us how to meet each person where they are at and see the strengths that You have placed in them with purpose. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to accept and love all whom You place on our path. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Wonderfully Made

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:14, ERV)

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:14, VOICE)

This is an important reminder for us all. Not one of us was an accident; for all are intentionally created. Each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all hand-crafted with gifts and talents that are unique to our design. All that God has created is good. What we do with His creation is up to us, yet the more we recognize the wonder of His works, the more we value all that His hands have made. Perhaps we would all be a bit gentler with one another if we viewed each other as His handiwork, rather than categorized by beliefs, affiliation, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on. ALL are created with purpose, and ALL must be valued. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we value each intentional detail in those around us, and celebrate the wonderful way each human has been made.

My heart will give thanks,

For all You have made;

Each with a purpose,

Gifts to celebrate.

Help my eyes to see,

The beauty that lies;

Within ev’ry soul,

Value realized.

O God, You are good,

All made by Your hands;

May we choose cherish,

Each life You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have wonderfully and intentionally made all of us. Thank You that You have uniquely designed every human on the planet with purpose. Forgive us for allowing differences to warp our view. Teach us to recognize and value the gift of every individual we meet. Show us how to love in a way that values and celebrates the gifts that You have given in all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us Your heart and Your eyes to view the gifts to celebrate in all whom You have created. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Time to Treasure

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. – (Luke 12:34, MSG)

Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well. – (Luke 12:34, VOICE)

Our treasure is what we place value upon and where we spend our time, talent, and resources. Throughout the last year, I have spent more time at home than ever before. This whole pandemic situation has been a catalyst to investing more into my family, home and community. It has required intentional focus to navigate life at home with three people and two dogs that are always present. I have always treasured the stillness of early mornings, so my time alone with God has not changed nor been compromised. My kids choose to be present and help out with the puppies as they navigate their own way through college online. As for the pups, who could help but invest time and resources into loving them well? It is not all easy, but it is indeed worthwhile. May we treasure the gifts that God has given, and prioritize praising Him for His goodness and grace. May we pursue the Lord and His best for us, ever placing our treasure in Him.

These treasured moments,

God glimpses through time;

Intentional acts,

of love being kind.

For as we value,

God’s gifts here on earth;

We discover peace,

And to Him, our worth.

Value exceeding,

All that we have known;

A promised future,

Of glories unknown.

May we spend our gifts,

Time talents and trust;

Investing in things,

That don’t turn to dust.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to treasure. Thank You that loving You and loving those around us is the greatest investment we could ever make. Forgive us for the times that we have squandered our time, talent and resources on things that will not last. Teach us to prioritize and be intentional. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our time, talents and resources to love and to honor You. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

To Treasure What Matters Most

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

“Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also.” – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

If we focus on loving God and loving people, our treasure will be found in doing just that. Our treasure is our time, talent and resources. When we invest what we have and who we are into that which God is calling us to, our lives become fully invested. This can be a tricky road to navigate, for when we truly look around and open our eyes and hearts, the need can become overwhelming. God does not ask us to solve the world’s woes alone. Rather, He calls us to love one person at a time, as our paths cross. If we treasure our time and remember that others are a gift from Him, we end up loving God and those around us as He intended. 

Currently, many of us are in a season of great loss; loss of loved ones, loss of security, loss of normalcy, and more. In the last two days of conferencing, I have met with a grieving family, and heard devastating news of another family’s loss, whose daughter I had in class. Additionally, a very dear family friend is in his final hours. My heart grieves for each family, and I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. As we recognize that our days are limited, we are reminded who holds each day in His hands. When all that I am begins the day seeking God, I am better equipped to remember the gift that each day holds in Him and in time with those whom He has given me. May we ever treasure what matters most, and seek to love as we are loved by God.

May our hearts treasure,

That which matters most;

God and all people,

As we keep each close.

Each near in our hearts,

Let us lift and pray;

Value each other,

And love in God’s way.

For God so loves us,

That to us, He gave;

Love, light and freedom,

Grace to walk His way.

Lord, help us to bring,

Each prayer and concern;

Teach us to love well,

As we grow and learn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our greatest treasures are found in You and those whom You place in our lives. Thank You that You show us and grow us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to hoard the treasure You intended for others. Show us how and where to invest our time, talent and resources. Help us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize where true hope is found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to treasure what matters most. Amen.

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

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21

Where Treasure Lies

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

Your heart will be where your treasure is. – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also. – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

 

My heart, as I have discovered more deeply than ever before, is for God and people. Each morning, my priority continues to be to seek the Lord and spend time in His word to set the tone for the day. What I miss most in this time of “stay at home”, is the ability to get out and be with people whom I enjoy most. I think many of us took for granted, and we are now finding out, how much we truly treasure the luxury of navigating a “normal” day among a vast array of individuals. My time with my husband and children has been really good, and I am grateful for the time together that would likely not have occurred otherwise; yet I struggle with the sedentary staying in place, when I am accustomed to walking about campus before school, during my planning, at lunch, and when the school day closes. Each walk about would result in friendly exchanges with different staff members and students, that I value and enjoyed each day. Now, I am often seated in silence for hours at a time, as I attempt to navigate the new, eagerly waiting for the next collaborative Zoom meeting, so that I will see and work together with my friends and colleagues. My boys are present in my work space with me until their work for the day is complete, then they disappear to do their own thing, while the other two members of our household are essential workers, and spend their days away from home. All this to say, though I was intentional most of the time to say hello or at least smile and wave to people as I passed by, I imagine that I will treasure the freedom to do so all the more when the stay at home orders are lifted. In the meantime, I will look for ways to reach out and connect with people as they come to mind, and continue to lean on the Lord for strength and sanity. May we all place our treasure in the gifts of people whom God has given us, and in the Giver Himself.

 

May we seek treasure, Love Made Known

Things of the most worth;

Not things, but people,

Greatest gifts on earth.

Love God and people,

The greatest command;

Purpose intended,

What the Lord had planned.

For what we value,

Where our hearts are found;

Let’s choose what matters,

So good may abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us where our treasures lie, as we look at what has our time, attention and affection. Thank You that You treasure people first, and show us how to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our priorities get out of order, and we set aside what matters most. Teach us to seek You first in all things, so that we may live and love according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first so that we may love You and love those around us in the same way that You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

Clear the Temple

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” He said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer’, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.” – (Matthew 21:12-13, NIV)

Jesus went into the Temple area. He threw out all those who were selling and buying things there. He turned the tables that belonged to those who were exchanging different kinds of money. And He turned over benches of those who were selling doves. Jesus said to them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer’. But you are changing it into a ‘hiding place for thieves.” – (Matthew 21:12-13, ERV)

 

My focus this week is to take a deeper look at the series of events that took place leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. On the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus left Bethany, cursed a fig tree, cleansed the temple, healed and taught in the temple (as God intended), left the city, and returned back to Bethany where He stayed the night. The portion of scripture that stood out to me, was the passage where Jesus, in His righteousness, cleared out of the temple, that which did not belong. He did not just clear out what did not belong, but went on and loved, touched, taught and healed, according to what did belong in His Temple. Jesus did not simply say how things needed to be, but rather He modeled it through every aspect of His life. The way that Jesus cleansed the temple demonstrated His authority and His passion for His Father’s house, and the way that He restored the space to what it was intended through His loving people well, reminds us of the kindness of God. May we take time this week to clear the temple of our hearts and rid ourselves of anything that does not belong, and allow the Lord to restore us with His loving kindness and grace that reaches out and loves as He so passionately loves each of us.

 

Within all our hearts, Restore to Me the Joy

There’s things to be cleared;

Misguided beliefs,

Irrational fears.

We have a Savior,

In love, who comes near;

He’ll wash away waste,

Make our value clear.

As we know our worth,

We love differently;

No longer hindered,

Able to be free.

Free to love greatly,

As God first loved us;

Love with abandon,

Just like our Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose the difficult road because of Your great love for us. Thank You that You cleared the temple of what did not belong, and replaced it with what did. Forgive us for allowing anything into the temple of our hearts that does not belong. Show us how to clear the chaos and crud that does not align with Your design, and teach us to seek You to fill our hearts with things of You. Lead us to love those around us in the same way that You love – lavishly, tangibly, and without qualifications. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clear the temple within, and praise You for the incredible sacrifice You made on our behalf. Amen

 

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

 

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – Mark 11:15-16

To Demonstrate Love

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

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

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The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9