To Encourage One Another

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV) 

So, encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV) 

Because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, TPT) 

It is imperative that we encourage one another, support each other, and help each other grow stronger in faith, for without faith there is no hope, and with no hope, there cannot be change. All that is going on in our nation, demands that we search ourselves and determine what must change. In order to press on and keep moving toward reconciliation and peace, we must encourage each other to stretch and grow. Between the months of isolation and the social injustices that now scream for our attention, we need each other to dig in and press on. In order to love God and love people, we must pursue deeper relationships. That only occurs as we seek to know one another better. With God, it is time in His word, in worship, in prayer, and intentional fellowship together that encourages our hearts to know Him more. With people, we must know and understand one another. This means there has to be time invested to know the unique history of each person, and what has shaped them into who they are today. When we understand people’s perspectives, we can more clearly encourage and support one another. Right now, for me, this space is one of educating myself more thoroughly about the marginalization of much of our nation’s population, based solely of the amount of melanin in their skin. It is a mortifying history, one that overwhelms, saddens and enrages me. If I feel this way on behalf of people I love, how much more are those who are living it feeling? We must be and do better. As we learn and grow, we are better equipped to love more deeply, and fight for the equality and loving society that God intended. Every nation, tribe and tongue will be sharing the same eternity. How I love and encourage all those around me, impacts not only today, but forever. May we seek the Lord for courage, and pursue wisdom to grow into the people who He created us to be.   

May we seek the Lord, 

His wisdom and grace; 

To love, encourage, 

For all of our days. 

We all have been called, 

To love each other; 

Encourage, lift up, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Each time we choose love, 

God’s will’s being done; 

Light in the darkness, 

We choose to become. 

So, let us rise up, 

Seek to learn and grow; 

Honor each other, 

Make the Lord’s love known. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage one another to grow. Thank You that You are faithful to lead us to change and become more of who You created us to be as we seek Your help and Your heart. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have failed to encourage or build others up. Teach us how to best build up and encourage one another, so that all may grow in Your love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that each will be encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and build those around us up, ever extending Your love to all. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Protected Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

The peace Jesus was speaking of is His perfect peace. It is peace in the midst of the storm, calm during chaos, and the blessed assurance that He is near, even when all seems in turmoil. In our human understanding, we think of peace as the absence of chaos; where calm reigns and good is proclaimed. Incredibly, we need not fear nor allow our hearts to be weighed down by the chaos around us, but rather we may rest in the calm that He places within us, despite trials and tribulations. There is much comfort in knowing His presence. Right now, with tensions running high and uncertainty all around us, peace comes when I seek the Lord to be with me as I invest my energy into learning and growing, so that I may be a bridge builder toward the sort of peace He intended. In the same way that my sweet puppy looks for me and seeks me to be his space of comfort and peace, we need to do the same with God. The Lord will hold us and comfort us and bring calm to the chaos within. As we grow in our understanding of His peace, we are better equipped to go forth and bring comfort and kindness and healing where turmoil is trying to triumph. May the love of the Lord lead us, as we learn and grow to be and do better, so that we may become vessels of His perfect peace. 

The peace of the Lord, 

Always ever near; 

Our place of comfort, 

And calmer of fear. 

As we seek the Lord, 

His peace becomes known; 

A love magnified, 

His goodness is shown. 

As we choose invest, 

Seek to learn and grow; 

We’re equipped to love, 

His kindness, we’ll sow. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our peace. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances, nor on what surrounds us. Thank You that Your perfect peace comes and dwells within. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed trials and tribulations to steal our peace, rather than turn to You. Show us how to trust and rely on You more, so that we may know Your peace and pass it on to all whom we meet. Teach us to love with kindness, and grace, so that we may build bridges to Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for peace in both calm and the storms, so that we may be peace bearers to the world. Amen. 

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Gentle Answers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV) 

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

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

How can we answer gently defuse the anger that is ravaging our cities? I wish I had the perfect answer that would restore order and peace. However, I recognize that there is no simple answer nor quick fix. This morning, I came across a powerful message from a woman of color , Nicole Walters, who gave me far deeper insight into what is going on. What if the protesting that has turned violent by some comes from a long-standing space of grief? Grief for the way that the world perceives individuals, based solely on the color of their skin. What if, after a lifetime of both observing and living this reality, the one more thing brought an end to the quiet peaceful ways of seeking right where so much is wrong, and what we are witnessing is screaming for our attention? No longer can we stay silent. We must listen and learn. In the same way the colonists attempted to peacefully right the wrongs imposed by authorities subjecting the citizens to unfair taxes, by letter writing, petitioning, and the like, they hit a point of being ignored, unheard, for far too long, and The Boston Tea Party took place. Rather than continue to be taxed on tea, they snuck aboard the ship and threw that tea into the harbor. Fires were ablaze, and civil unrest rose up. Enough was enough. What is going on now, is not so different. Preventable tragedies and gross atrocities continue to take place against people of color, and enough is enough. No, looting is not the answer, yet it has certainly demanded our attention. Each one of us needs to look at our own lens, and recognize where cleaning needs to occur. Sometimes, the lack of clarity of our view, comes from an unintentional ignorance. The more we know, the better we can become at loving our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, the way that God intended. Love always protects. If we begin to listen and learn and answer gently, with the wisdom and grace that God provides, then perhaps the anger will be defused and peace may begin to be restored. This begins with me. I love deeply, and value everyone. That being said, I must be intentional to become more aware, and learn how to love better. This is not meant to be some sort of soap box post, but rather one of recognition and repentance for not knowing what I have not clearly known. As a woman who loves Jesus, a mother, a teacher, and a friend, change begins with me. There is always more to learn to do better and be better. My job demands that I listen and learn, evolve and grow – in each of my roles; for each position give me a unique voice and the ability to impact those around me. May we seek the Lord for wisdom as we are intentional to listen and learn, so that we may act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as we are called. 

O Lord, here am I, 

On true bended knees; 

Asking for wisdom, 

So I clearly see. 

Please open my eyes, 

To where I’ve been blind; 

Lead me to better, 

Show me Your design. 

Help me to act justly, 

To love with mercy; 

May I humbly walk, 

Promote equity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continue to grow us as we are willing to listen and learn. Thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents to share with and positively impact the world. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have not viewed the world through Your lens. Teach us to continue to intentionally learn and grow, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all people feel valued, heard, and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn, so that we may always answer gently and help defuse anger with love. Amen. 

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

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

Let Us Consider

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV) 

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV) 

Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. – (Hebrews 10:24, TPT) 

When I read this passage, what kept coming to mind is knowing the love language of those around us, so that we may offer encouragement and express love in the way that they receive it best. For example, I am all about quality time. When others are intentional to give me their time and attention, especially to go and do things together, my heart is filled and encouraged, and I feel known. However, my husband is an acts of service guy. He notices and values every effort to do things that speak love through action. The better we know those around us, the more equipped we are to love and serve one another in the way that expresses love best. Care, conversation, observation, and listening are simple ways that we can discover how to love and encourage those around us best. This is no small task, but rather an intentional act of love. We also can lead by acting in compassion, so that we might compel those around us to do the same. May we ever invest in the lives of those around us, so that we may encourage each other to show love and compassion, and do good works. 

Lord, help us to seek, 

Love, listen and learn; 

How to encourage, 

In wisdom, discern. 

We need to know how, 

To love others best; 

By Your grace, love well, 

So each may feel blessed. 

Show us, Lord Jesus, 

How to truly love; 

In word and in deed, 

Hold others above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us best. Thank You that as we seek You, You will show us how to love one another in the same way. Forgive us for our lack of listening and the spaces where we have lacked love. Teach us to listen and learn, seek and discover, the ways that encourage and show love best. Lead us to love those around us in word and deed, so that all may know the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to encourage one another to love and do good. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Do Good and Seek Peace

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, NIV) 

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV) 

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away. – (Psalm 34:14, MSG) 

If ever there was a time to do good and seek peace, the time is now. My heart breaks more every passing day, as the cities of our nation are being set on fire, and people can find no peace. How do we collectively turn from evil and do good?  

I am seeing examples of communities coming together in the aftermath of the destruction caused the night prior, and working together to clean up and restore the areas heavily damaged. There is good being done. It is a start, but not at all where it should end. Relationships are fragile, and choosing to look for ways to do good is one thing that we all can do. 

In this space, where peace is seemingly impossible, we must seek the Prince of Peace. We need wisdom and grace, mercy and understanding, to move forward to bring forth peace. May we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on He, who is our peace, and choose to do good so that peace may be found and embraced. 

Choose turn from evil, 

And seek to do good; 

It is how to love, 

Makes grace understood. 

In space of unrest, 

With Christ, pursue peace; 

Move forward in grace, 

Goodness be released. 

In all things, choose love, 

For it is the place; 

Where peace may be found, 

Purposeful embrace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Prince of Peace. Thank You that in times of turmoil, we can turn to You and find peace and choose to do good. Forgive us, individually, and collectively, as we need Your healing to come into our hearts, homes, cities and our nation. Show us how to do good, and bring Your peace in places where peace is lacking. Teach us to love practically and tangibly, so that healing may happen and peace may be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully pursue You, and listen to Your leading to love well and do the good that must be done. Amen. 

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Called to Better

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

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV) 

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

God’s compassion, grace, kindness and mercy are exactly what the world needs right now. With all of the recent human ugliness, “…a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness”, is exactly the sort of love and patience we need to have with one another. We are a broken people, full of fault and failure, desperately in need of God’s mercy and love. God is all of these things and more, yet we have the choice to either receive from Him and pass it on, or stay stuck in our broken state of being. As we accept what the Lord freely gives, we are driven to do better; be better. May we ever pursue the Lord and His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all with whom we interact. 

Kindness, compassion, 

Patience and great love; 

All from the Father, 

Our Lord up above. 

All these are granted, 

Though we don’t deserve; 

May it compel us, 

To listen and serve. 

For as we receive, 

We’re equipped to give; 

Love as intended, 

Grace and peace to live. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that as we seek You and receive from You, You equip us to go forth and love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion or grace, and allowed anger to get in the way of love. Show us how to love like You – with compassion, grace, patience, and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us how to be and do better, each day that we draw breath. Amen. 

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

He has caused wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – Psalm 111:4

Unite in Purpose

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV) 

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV) 

If some have cause to celebrate, join the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE) 

I am feeling this deeply, yet again, for the third time in a few short weeks. Mourning for lives lost, senselessly, as much of the nation is rendered speechless by the injustices that have transpired. The rejoicing comes, when people rise up, united in purpose to see that justice is brought forth, and awareness is heightened beyond the blatant disregard for human lives. As a mom and a teacher, I desperately want better for my children – my own by birth, and those entrusted to me in the classroom. This call to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn, is simply a specific directive of how we can love people well. When we have empathy, through truly listening and hearing the hearts of those around us, we learn and grow and discover ways to be better; do better, for all. My role, as a woman of faith, is to ever be seeking to grow in wisdom and understanding, so that my words, thoughts and actions reflect the heart of Christ. Christ came and loved all. He is the model of how we are meant to live and love one another. He did not fear those who were not like Him, but He came close and loved well, overcoming the cultural barriers of the time with love. Love looked like the Savior speaking to a woman who was an outcast; it touched those deemed untouchable with sickness or disease; love helped and healed and spoke truth, even when it was not the popular opinion. Love stood up for righteousness and truth, and cleared the temple when those who had ill-intentions tried to enter in. Love stands up for justice and truth. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we will listen and learn, act and speak out, to bring change so that all may live without fear. 

When good comes around, 

Rejoice together; 

In midst of sorrow, 

Grieve too, do better. 

Choose seek to listen, 

To learn and to grow; 

Love well, each other, 

Let God’s love be shown. 

To live heart to heart, 

Sisters and brothers; 

Seek to choose love first, 

Honor each other. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us ways that we can love one another as we are created and called to love. Thank You that Jesus showed us what it was to rejoice with people when they are rejoicing, and to mourn with those who are mourning. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to understand first, or have neglected to recognize the reasons to rejoice or mourn with those around us. Teach us to follow Your example of love. Show us how to best love everyone around us, rejoicing when there is reason to celebrate, and mourning when there is reason to grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You know every heart and how to heal brokenness in people, communities, and our nation. Help us to follow Your lead well. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

A Season Anew

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV) 

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV) 

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, MSG) 

This is a crazy reality right now. In fact, it has been so for a little over a year now. One event can overturn the direction you had imagined yourself walking, yet in the midst of it, there is an awareness and a peace that you are where you need to be, despite how different things are than you thought they would be. For me and my family, my mom’s stroke created a new season for all of us. Because I had plenty of sick leave and the FMLA Laws provide time, I was able to go and spend an extended season in Wenatchee with my mom, in the early months of her recovery. My sister, was able to travel back and forth during that time, to ultimately prepare for the next season, where mom would go and live with she and her family. As mom regained strength and mobility, we recognized her time away from her own community needed to end. When mom moved back to Wenatchee, she began a time of reconnecting with her dearest friends, attending her own church, and discovering what she could accomplish on her own in a safe environment. Then, the COVID-19 lockdowns began to take place in senior living communities. The freedoms that mom had been enjoying, were suddenly removed. Additionally, we are not allowed to visit, as access is restricted to all who live or work in that community, only. Incredibly, despite having her social life seemingly snatched from her grasp, right there in her own town, mom continues to be incredibly positive, working tirelessly on her walking and reaching out to call those whom she wishes she could see, in her circle. What is my point in all this? Well, I guess the greatest observation is simply that there is a season for everything, but it is not necessarily when we think it ought to be. Last spring and summer looked far different than I had imagined, but it was the right time to be in that space. Now, a year later, we are heading into our third month of stay-at-home orders. Again, not at all what I envisioned with two seniors graduating, and all of the activities and celebrations slated to take place senior year, but God is good, and is present, despite the losses we are grieving. In this space, we wait and trust, knowing that God is good and that there will be a season again soon, where we can see and spend time with those whom we are missing. May we seek the Lord and trust His timing, for His plans for us are good. 

There will be a time, 

A season anew; 

When things we have hoped, 

Will at last come true. 

A time to gather, 

To join, reconvene; 

Where all will make sense, 

God’s good will be seen. 

While in this season, 

Of wait and we’ll see; 

Choose trust in Jesus, 

For what’s yet to be. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in this, we can recognize that there are seasons of waiting and seasons of moving out into the new. Thank You that the two can happen simultaneously in You. Forgive us for our frustration in seasons of waiting, or times where what we are walking through looks different than what we had hoped or imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your ability to work all things together for good. Show us how to love those around us in this season of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are always present and prepared to supply whatever we need. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your timing for all that lies ahead, knowing that Your plans and purposes are for good. Amen. 

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

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Came to Save

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NIV) 

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, ERV) 

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT) 

I am so thankful that Jesus came to save, rather than to condemn. Though our sins warrant condemnation, His mercy and grace extend love and offer new life instead. In the same way that we have been given forgiveness and grace, we are meant to go forth and do likewise. We have been rescued from the darkness we were bound in, and as God’s own, we are meant to be bearers of light who shine His love everywhere we go. Our lives ought to demonstrate what it is to walk in redemption – full of gratitude and grace, as we recognize that there is nothing, we could ever do to repay the goodness we have been shown through Christ’s love. This revelation of God’s goodness compels us to navigate each day in the fullness of His love. May we go forth in God’s love and love others in the same way that we are loved by God. 

God sent His own Son, 

But not to condemn; 

Instead to set free, 

Grace that overwhelms. 

Though judgment’s deserved, 

He gives us His grace; 

Forgiven and free, 

As we seek His face. 

May we, in freedom, 

Go forth, do the same; 

Love as we are loved, 

Honor Jesus’ Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You Jesus, for showing us what sacrificial love is. Thank You for loving us to life, so that we might go forth and love others. Forgive us for the places that we judge or condemn rather than seek to love. Teach us to trust You more, for You provide wisdom, strength and grace to know when to stay and when to walk away from situations where we should or should not remain. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made known clearly through love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming sacrifice to save us. Amen. 

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

To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:4

Quick to Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV) 

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV) 

Post this at all intersections, dear friends: lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG) 

On this Memorial Day, it is a great reminder of how to operate in love, as we remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Because they gave, we are able to express our opinions, worship as we choose, and select whatever path we choose to walk. However, if we love God, and want to love people as we are called to love, this verse is a great reminder of how to go about communicating with those around us. Listening first, rather than spewing opinions or instantly judging others, is how we are called to live. There is righteous anger, but it should be in control and utilized with wisdom and grace, not acted upon in haste or revenge. Patient pursuit of understanding is far more productive than angry exchanges of insults. Through listening, we can discover common ground, and recognize the value in one another, rather than grow angry at a seeming “sacred belief” that seems to differ. Our current political climate seems to dictate ugly banter rather than patient listening and well thought out conversations. Honestly, there are very few people with whom I will even discuss anything even remotely political, as it seems far too risky, as I value friendships far more than topical discussions. However, when something is blatantly wrong, and unjust, that is where righteous anger takes a stand and acts wisely, in a manner that seeks to bring change.  Love is patient and love is kind, and as we choose to love this way, good grows and communities flourish. May we ever seek to listen to each other; being slow to speak and slow to anger, so that peace may reign and love may abound. 

May we seek listen, 

And ever be wise; 

Slow to choose to speak, 

Grace uncompromised. 

Be slow to anger, 

And when anger reigns; 

Use it to bring change, 

Rather than disdain. 

Brothers and sisters,  

May we ever choose; 

To love at all times, 

So goodness is proved. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to lay down one’s life as a sacrifice. Thank You for all those who have laid down their lives for us to enjoy the freedom we know and love as a nation. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened in love first, and have spoken in haste or been quick to grow angry. Teach us to listen in love; being slow to speak and slow to anger. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love and seek You to love the same way. 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