Belief Makes Right and Confession Saves

One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. – (Romans 10:10, HCSB)

Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in Him, and so we are saved. – (Romans 10:10, ERV)

Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. – (Romans 10:10, VOICE)

I am so thankful that it is our belief and trust in God that makes us right with Him, and our expression of this belief that saves us, rather than some sort of performance rating that has to be earned. As we trust in the Lord, we desire to do what pleases Him. That being said, we all fall short. Thankfully, it is not about what we do or don’t do to earn His grace, but rather He freely gives, and because of it, we rise. May we ever seek to know God more so that we might trust Him more deeply and confess our faith more freely. 

With hearts we believe,

That God is what’s true;

Faithful confession,

Salvation ensues.

It is by His grace,

That we are made right;

And because of this,

In Him we delight.

The more we pursue,

The more we can see;

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Hope eternally.

To choose to have faith,

Trust what we can’t see;

Leads to evidence,

He shows tangibly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You and profess that You are Lord, we receive Your grace and gain the hope of eternity. Thank You that though we cannot see You, it is not blind faith. Thank You that there is evidence of who You are and how You love all around us, if only we open our eyes to see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Thank You that You are not offended by our questions. Show us more and more of who You are and how You love, so that we may represent Your love well to those around us. Teach us how to love everyone whom we encounter as You would. Give us Your goodness and grace to share. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all that we are and confess aloud our love and trust in You, our hope forever. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

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

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Search, Know and Lead

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. – (Psalm 139:23-24, HCSB)

God examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life. – (Psalm 139:23-24, MSG)

When we invite God to be Lord of our lives it is an invitation to lead us, guide us, redirect and correct us so that we can walk in His way and do His will. God has given us a free will and allows us to make our own decisions as we navigate our days. However, He is available and willing to lead us and direct us as we allow Him access. David, the author of this Psalm, was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” He loved and followed the Lord, yet had seasons where he succumbed to sin and needed correction and redirection. I think the reason he was known as “a man after God’s own heart” was his willingness to give God access to all. Though David did not always enjoy the intervention that he invited, he knew that God was God and he was not. It requires a daily decision to release our own desires to seek God to lead and guide us in all things. His ways lead to eternal life; not only for us, but can impact the outcome of those around us too. When we seek Him to live and love as He does, others become aware of His goodness and grace. May we ever invite the Lord to search us, know us, correct, redirect and lead us so that we live out our days with eternity in mind.

O God, search my heart,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Show me what is true;

Lead me in Your love,

In all that I do.

Show me where changes,

Are needing be made;

In love, You’ll guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Remove from my heart,

What is not of You;

Flood me with Your love,

Help me walk in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call, and that You lead, direct, correct and call us to walk in Your ways and do Your will when we seek You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that is not of You, and for allowing things to distract us from the course that You have called us to walk. Lead us to draw ever closer to You. Show us how to live out Your love with those around us, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and invite You to be Lord of all areas in our lives. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name. – Psalm 31:3

Pray for Problematic People

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

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

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

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

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

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

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Kind and Ready to Forgive

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. – (Psalm 86:5, HCSB)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

I am so thankful that God hears all who call on Him. He is kind and good and merciful, and He forgives and helps us with His love as we seek Him. Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can count on Him to be consistent in His love. It is through the mercy and grace we receive when we seek God’s forgiveness that we are compelled to do likewise for those around us. For me, I am ever aware of my need for His help and forgiveness as I navigate each new day. He is kind and gentle, generous and loving, and remains steadfast in all things. May we ever seek the Lord to forgive us and lead us forward in all that He is calling us to do.

The Lord is so good,

Forgiving and kind;

Loyal and faithful,

It is His design.

The goodness that flows,

From heaven to earth;

Shows us His power,

And unending worth.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To ever seek You;

For goodness and love,

Ever we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You as we seek You, You forgive us and lavish us with Your love. Thank You for Your kindness and faithfulness forever. Forgive us for neglecting to seek forgiveness where it is needed. Show us our shortcomings and the power of Your love in those places. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek forgiveness, goodness and grace, and then extend the same to all those we encounter. Amen.

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

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known, He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Pray for ALL

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone. – (1 Timothy 2:1, HCSB)

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. – (1 Timothy 2:1, ERV)

So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. – (1 Timothy 2:1, VOICE)

We are called to pray, present requests, and give thanks for everyone, and do so on their behalf. It is easy to pray for those who love us and are kind to us, yet we are called to pray for ALL people. This includes those who are unkind to us, those who slow us down; for those who frustrate or aggravate us, and for those who care little for anyone other than themselves. To pray for these requires an intentional and purposeful decision to love as God loves us. An old friend of mine, years ago, modeled this in a very practical way while we were driving somewhere. Every time someone would cut in front of us or do something foolish or frustrating, he would speak out blessing and truth, such as, “Jesus loves you!” or “May God bless you and protect you!”, even when it came out as a shout. It seemed silly at the time, yet all these years later, it still serves as a reminder for me to bless and pray for others, even those who anger us the most. Part of the process of praying for others is as much a request for us to see them as God does, as it is a choice to act in love when love is not at all what we feel. May we ever lift up and pray for all those around us, without exception.

Lord, please remind us,

To choose pray for ALL;

The bent and broken,

For this is our call.

Show us Your own heart,

For humanity;

The love that held You,

Up upon that tree.

For You have so loved,

That You gave us all;

Now our champion,

On whom we can call.

Quicken our hearts, Lord,

To love and to pray;

For ev’ry person,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us what it really is to love and pray for all. On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who hung Him there. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of love for those who need love the most. Show us how to pray for and bless everyone whom we encounter. Change hearts and lives to reflect Your love to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for and bless others as You have modeled for and equipped us to do. Amen.

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

Father, I pray that all who believe in Me can be one. You are in Me and I am in You. I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that You sent Me. – John 17:21

The Reward in Repentance

The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, HCSB)

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. – (Proverbs 28:13, NASB)

Whoever tries to hide his sins will not succeed, but the one who confesses his sins and leaves them behind will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, VOICE)

Repentance is a powerful and necessary part of our walk with God. It is the admission of our lack of trust and self-reliance, and a turning to God to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. This is an ongoing process, for we have a free will and a fallen nature. It requires intentional seeking and purposeful self-awareness to recognize not only our need for God, but an awareness of the times that we have sought to build our own kingdoms and relied on our own strength. We need God’s wisdom, mercy and grace to walk in His way and do His will. May we ever seek the Lord with open hearts and sincere honesty, confessing not only our need for Him, but also asking forgiveness for the times that we have relied on ourselves instead of seeking the Lord to do what is good and right before Him. We must surrender our own plans and agendas and look to the Lord to lead us according to His good and perfect will.

O Lord, we repent,

From all we have done;

That dishonors You,

The Most Holy One.

Forgive the selfish,

Self-reliant things;

That shadow Your light,

The only True King.

Help us turn away,

From trying alone;

For in You we find,

Your way is made known.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

Lead us in Your love,

So people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and repent for our self-reliance and selfish ways, You forgive us and lead us in Your goodness and grace. Teach us to seek and rely on You in all things, for You are ever-present to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You want us to. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent from all that does not honor You, and depend on You to show us what to do in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19

How to Pray

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, HCSB)

Today is the first day of twenty-one days of intentional prayer and fasting with my church. Each day there is a focused passage and it is only fitting that day one covers “The Lord’s Prayer”. This five-verse passage provides us with a framework of how we ought to pray. First, we ought to acknowledge who God is. Next, we are to seek His will, not our own. After that, we should ask Him for what we need. Next, we are to confess to Him and request forgiveness, as we also must forgive others in the same way. He is gracious to help as we ask. None of us are beyond the reach of temptation and ought to ask that God help us avoid or overcome all that tempts us away from His will for our lives. Being delivered from the evil one is an ongoing ask for protection – mind, body, and spirit. Lastly, we ought to again point back to who God is and remember all that He can do. May we each be intentional to begin the new year well, for our help and hope is in Christ.

O God in heaven,

Most holy are You;

Our Savior and King,

Who makes all things new.

May Your will be done,

In our hearts and lives;

Help us to honor,

Without compromise.

Be our Provider,

Throughout each new day;

For in You we find,

What’s needed each day.

For our wrongdoings,

Please love and forgive;

Help us do likewise,

Each day that we live.

Protect our choices,

From going astray;

Lead us and guide us,

To walk in Your way.

The kingdom is Yours,

Love, power and grace;

All praise forever,

For Your loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You have provided guidance for when we are uncertain as to how to pray. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek You in all things. Teach us to entrust all things into Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your leading as we pray and choose to trust You more each day. Amen.

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

The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. – Psalm 6:9

Represent in Love

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, NIV)

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, ERV)

Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, MSG)

This is and has been a charge that has felt seemingly absent over the last year and a half on social media. People who love God and love people, have been blasting one another over various “hot topics”, rather than listening to understand in love. The challenge in this is that we all have opinions that rise up, yet if we profess Jesus is Lord, we cannot name call and demean those around us for what they think. That is not love. Yes, we can have civilized conversations face-to-face, but yelling, name-calling, and demeaning is not beneficial to anyone. All of us have opinions and positions on the various things that are going on in the world that bring about differing views, yet what we do with those opinions is on us. If we are to profess our faith in love, our every interaction must be led in love. I too, have opinions and reactions rise up, but have learned that I cannot simply react, but rather I must listen in love and seek the Lord to lead. Most often, that means that I must scroll past the “blasting” and only discuss my thoughts when I am able to listen in love and calmly share my concerns and ideas. It is a delicate balance to continue to learn how to live in such a way that we are honoring God in all that we do and say. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our conversations and exchanges of thoughts, ideas and opinions so that love is what is evident in all.

Love is the answer,

We’re each called to give;

In speech and actions,

Each day that we live.

No matter our thoughts,

To what’s going on;

If not led in love,

Validity’s gone.

What good is shouting,

Finger-pointing wrongs?

Instead, let’s listen,

Show that love belongs.

O Lord, we need You,

To lead us in love;

To follow Your heart,

Speak in peace and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to conduct ourselves in a manner that ever demonstrates Your goodness and love. Thank You that You call us to represent You with our words and deeds. Forgive us for our every word, thought and deed that has not demonstrated Your goodness, love and grace. Teach us to interact with one another in love, no matter how differently we view the world. Show us how to love greatly, and to choose to love in our every action, reaction and interaction with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in everything that we say and do so that we may represent who You intended us to become. Amen.

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

Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. – Psalm 17:7

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG)

It should not be easy to overlook this fact, but there are times that I make God too small. I think I get caught up in the frustration, fear, or a funk, forgetting what I know to be true. God has ALWAYS been faithful, and He ALWAYS uses our trials as testimonies and our struggles as ways to show us just how mightily He can move. Incredibly, as we seek Him and allow Him to work in us, through us and around us, He exceeds our hopes and expectations every time. Though His answers and solutions may not look like we had hoped or imagined, they ultimately are far better than what we hoped would be so. As we give God room to move, He is given glory through His church (all of us), and through His Spirit (working in us). Whether we are faithful and trusting or not, He forever remains worthy of all glory and praise. May we ever seek the Lord and allow Him room to be God, for He will do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine.

God’s more is so much,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Immeasurable;

Beyond all our hopes,

Power enabled.

All we imagine,

Is still nowhere near;

What the Lord can do,

When we release fear.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Watch all that He does;

More than we could dream,

Power through His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine; in us, through us and around us. Thank You that Your glory lasts forever, and You love never quits. Forgive us for thinking our hopes, dreams, trials and difficulties are insignificant to You. Teach us to trust You more, for Your love and ability to move on our behalf are beyond what we could hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant glimpses of the depth and breadth of Your unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory forever for all that You have and will ever do. Amen.

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

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33