Let Us Listen First

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 the intersections, dear friends; Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

This requires an ongoing decision to be intentional to listen, and truly seek to understand. If we merely listen to respond rather than comprehend what is being spoken, anger has room to rise up, instead of compassion and kindness. Yes, there are times that what is being spoken is not beneficial for anyone. Even then, how we respond makes all the difference. Righteous anger allows us to appropriately respond in love and in truth. The ego, on the other hand, causes responses that only further fan the flames. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen well, so that when we choose to speak, our words are full of life and love and grace.

Lord, help us to seek,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To listen and learn;

Use our ears and heart,

For gracious return.

Let not our voices,

Respond without thought;

Help us understand,

And love as we ought.

For if truth be told,

Wisdom can be found;

In hearts that listen,

As Your grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to lead with listening to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without truly hearing, or allowed anger to rise and taint our words or actions. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to listen to understand, speak in love, and allow anger to help us bring change through Your goodness and grace. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You to grow us more like You. 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

To Truly Trust

She said to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 9:21-22, NIV)

She was thinking, “If I can touch His coat, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw the woman. He said, “Be happy, dear woman. You are made well because you believed.” Then the woman was healed. – (Matthew 9:21-22, ERV)

She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on His robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned – caught her at it. Then He reassured her. “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on. – (Matthew 9:21-22, MSG)

Every time I read passages about Jesus healing people, I take pause and wonder why we see it so seldom now. What I find remarkable is that it seems to occur most often when there is no other option for restoration. Years ago, when I was in India with Youth With a Mission, we would find ourselves in remote villages, surrounded by people who were hungry to know more about God. After sharing with the people through an interpreter, we would make ourselves available to pray for people. Often, we would have little idea what exactly we were praying for. Our only choice was to pray by faith, knowing that God knew their needs. In one of these instances, a father and his young daughter stood before two friends and myself, while the interpreter had a brief conversation with the father. He turned, told us to pray for the girl’s ears, and went on to the next person. Having little idea of how to pray, we lifted up our prayers, trusting that God would do what God does. A short time later, the interpreter returned. He began speaking with the father and daughter. At first, they were standing face to face, then he kept backing up and continued speaking with them. The three of us looked at him with puzzled expressions on our faces. He turned, looked at us with joy on his face, and told us that the girl had come completely deaf, and that God had restored her hearing. I imagine our jaws were just about touching the ground as we stood there in amazement. We had not done anything spectacular; we simply trusted and believed. The father and daughter had come believing that she would be restored, and she was. Throughout my time in Asia, there were several accounts of such healings. Sight was restored, limbs were healed, and various infirmities – gone. There was nothing that any of us could have done to make it so. It was God moving as He moves when His people pray and trust in Him. I know He still heals today; the challenging part is that we do not get to determine when or for whom. Sometimes God heals the physical need, yet other times He does a work in the heart.

 My own Mom suffered a stroke a year and a half ago. Myself and many others have prayed unceasingly for her complete and total restoration. Right now, she is far better than she was a year ago, yet we are still waiting and longing for the healing of her right arm, and continued healing of her right leg. She is able to walk with a cane and communicate well, and do most things independently. However, there are still things that require assistance. Our greatest gratitude is that she is still here with us. I know for all of us, God has used this season to challenge and grow us. In all things, may we seek and trust in Him for the healing that He holds for each of us.

Lord, teach us to trust,

In Your healing hands;

For You long to touch,

As love is Your plan.

Lead us to seek You,

Grant wisdom and faith;

Help us and hold us,

As we seek Your grace.

Show us Your power,

Bring healing each day;

Make our hearts anew,

As we walk Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer our faithful seeking. Thank You that though we don’t always understand why healing does not always happen this side of heaven, that You are always good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when calamities come. Teach us to trust and rely on You as we walk forward in faith in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love and support and pray for those who are in need of Your touch. Lead us to love well and pray faithfully. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as that is the space where hearts are healed and lives are changed. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. 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 path straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Seeking in Spaces of Need

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. – (Matthew 8:2-3, NIV)

Then a man sick with leprosy came to Him. The man bowed down before Jesus and said, “Lord, You have the power to heal me if You want.” Jesus touched the man. He said, “I want to heal you. Be healed!” Immediately the man was healed from his leprosy. – (Matthew 8:2-3, ERV)

Suddenly, a leper walked up to Jesus and threw himself down before Him in worship and said, “Lord, You have the power to heal me… if You really want to.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the leper and said, “Of course I want to heal you – be healed!” And instantly, all signs of leprosy disappeared! – (Matthew 8:2-3, TPT)

This story of the man who was healed is an excellent reminder of what we ought to do in our own spaces of need. The man who had leprosy, first came before Christ. Clearly he believed that Jesus was able to heal, as he spoke aloud and postured himself before the Lord, and stated what it was that he needed. Incredibly, Jesus did not merely speak the words, “Be healed,” but He touched the untouchable and affirmed that it was His desire to heal the one who was hurting. What this shows us is that the Lord is available and willing to meet us in our space of need, but we must come to Him and recognize who He is and ask in faith. I know there are many who come to Christ and ask to be healed yet do not see healing on this side of heaven. I wish I understood why some are healed and some are not, but I do know that Jesus hears and promises to be present in the space between our ask and our arrival. Our hope must be in who He is, and the promises that He has for us all. Whether on earth or in heaven, we have the hope that all that ails us, all that breaks hurting hearts, will one day pass away. May we hold onto the hope that is in the hands of He who is holy, and rest assured that so much more awaits us beyond today.

In spaces of need,

Come before the Lord;

He’s more than enough,

All grace He affords.

More than the body,

Christ heals our hearts;

Willingly touches,

As love He imparts.

Lord, help us to come,

Before You in trust;

For You’re always good,

Faithful, kind and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always come before You, no matter what state we are in. Thank You that You are always willing to meet us and touch us, ever loving and full of grace. Forgive us for our doubts and fears, as we forget that our ultimate help and healing will come in heaven with You. Teach us to trust in You in such a way that we seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You in trust, knowing that You are loving and good. Amen.

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

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Trust and Do Good

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. – (Psalm 37:3, NIV)

So trust in the Lord and do good. Live on your land and be dependable. – (Psalm 37:3, ERV)

Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in His eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on His faithfulness. – (Psalm 37:3, TPT)

Our charge is to trust in the Lord and do what is right before Him. A decision to trust and do good is not dependent on our circumstances, surroundings, nor governing bodies; it is entirely up to us to choose, regardless of these things. It was true for the last four years, and remains true for the next. Politics should not and cannot determine our own decision to trust and do good. When we choose hope, there is peace in our hearts and our homes, and we discover the depth and breadth of God’s faithfulness. Incredibly, this seems to be what I am seeing in people, as there is this pending change in the air. People on both sides are proclaiming their intention to do exactly what David reminds us to do in this Psalm. This perceived gentleness grants me hope in the humanity of those around me. God is my ultimate hope; but it is good to see people pursuing trust and the goodness of God, rather than clinging to frustration or elation at an outcome. None of us know what the future holds, yet we know Who holds the future. May we be intentional to keep trusting the Lord and do what is right in His eyes, for He is our security and His faithfulness never ends.

For the Lord is good,

In Him, we can trust;

Reach out and be kind,

For peace, it’s a must.

We each have been called,

To love and do good;

To treat each other,

As family should.

When we each intend,

To do what is right;

God’s faithful to us,

For we’re His delight.

So, rise up in peace,

Choose trust and do good;

Live and love like Christ,

Make hope understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to trust You and do good. Thank You that our hope, security and safety come from You. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anyone or anything to disrupt our trust and neglect to do what is good before You. Show us how to love and do good as You call us to, and remind us anew of Your great faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and do the good that You call us to do. May Your hope and security be clear to all, through our reliance in You. 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

Pray for ALL People

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. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men(people) with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, TPT)

This is certainly a season that being reminded of the importance to pray for our nation, state, and local leaders is imperative. As our nation waits in anticipation, our prayers for our leaders, impending leaders, and one another, is essential. More than anything, our prayers need to be for peace and pure hearts. No matter the outcome, God is greater than our circumstances. Our ability to love one another remains, regardless of who sits in a leadership position. We need those who lead to do so with wisdom, grace, and kindness toward all people, and we need to celebrate and lift each other up, despite our differences. I know not what the future holds, but I do know to Whom I will ultimately look for guidance, grace and peace. My ability to be loving and kind is not determined by the government nor those in positions of authority. Finally, may we all pray for leaders everywhere, and for each other, so that we may live tranquil lives with the freedom to worship and be inspired with pure hearts and pure motives.

O Lord, help us pray,

For all those who lead;

Grant them Your wisdom,

And bring us Your peace.

Show us Your mercy,

Lead us by Your grace;

Make goodness present,

Throughout all our days.

Teach us to trust You,

For all’s in Your hands;

Teach us to worship,

As You heal our land.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority in our land. Thank You that despite what we see, You have a plan and a purpose in all things. Thank You that You can use even the worst of circumstances to bring Your good. Forgive us for allowing what we see to determine whether or not we pray and lift others up. Remind us anew to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority. Show us how to love and lift others up, especially in this season of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our Prince of Peace who loves without limits and holds us all in Your hands. Be glorified O God, as we lift leaders up and pray for Your will to be done. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Faithful to Finish

The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV) 

The One who calls you by name is trustworthy and will thoroughly complete His work in you. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, TPT) 

For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, VOICE) 

God is faithful to His promises. What He calls us to, He sees us through. Often, the things that God calls us to do are far too difficult, or beyond our scope of capability. When God is with us and for us, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. He can do far more than we could ever ask or imagine when we trust in Him. A perfect example of this is the road my mom has been navigating for nearly the last year and a half. After a stroke that initially stole control of the entire right side of her body and her independence, mom is now back in her own home, able to do far more than she thought possible, only a year ago. God has faithfully provided all that is needed to make this a reality. He orchestrated the right people and circumstances for such a time as this. Mom has wonderful help each day to assist with the things that are too difficult with a stubborn right arm, and the freedom, confidence, strength and independence to do all that she is able on her own. I still believe that He is not finished either. God has even more in store for mom than she could hope or imagine. The healing she is walking in (literally and figuratively) now, is but a glimpse of all that He will still do. She has been called to things that He created her to do, and He is faithful to see her through. I eagerly watch in anticipation for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in God to finish all He began, for He is faithful and worthy of our trust. 

For each one of us, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography.

Has been called by name; 

Created, chosen, 

And loved, all the same. 

To what we are called, 

God is faithful, true; 

Strengthened and equipped, 

To love and to do. 

Help us to trust You, 

Despite what we see; 

You, God, are able, 

To lift up, set free. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for Your faithfulness forever. Thank You that what You call us to do, You see us through, as You are faithful to fulfill what You promise. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the road ahead seems impossible. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the God who makes all things possible in You. Show us how to love, encourage, support and lift up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be faithful to finish all that You have begun and called us to do. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

With Every Word

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV) 

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG) 

Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith. – (Colossians 4:6, TPT) 

This is an ongoing existence that I am ever pursuing. I want my every word to be kind and to bring out the best in others. Grace, truth and clarity come from God. If I wish to communicate the way God intended, I must invest time and energy into know Him and His word. It does not magically happen overnight, but rather is a lifelong pursuit. My prayer is that my words would bring out the best in others, and that I would extend respect, kindness and wisdom to those with whom I interact. May the way we use our words be an extension of our faith. 

Lord, please let my words, 

Be seasoned with grace; 

May clarity come, 

As I seek Your ways. 

Let kindness and truth, 

Encouraging good; 

Be spoken in love, 

Make grace understood. 

Lead me in Your love, 

With all that I say; 

Grant me Your wisdom, 

To ever speak grace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your words for us are wise and kind, full of grace, and You bring out the best in us; always. Forgive us for the times that our words lacked grace or kindness. Teach us to choose our words wisely, so that we may be kind and wise and full of Your love in all that we say. Show us how to love those around us with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You anew each day to raise us up as ambassadors of Your goodness and grace through every word that we say. Amen. 

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

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. – Deuteronomy 30:14

Let Each Word Be A Gift

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV) 

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG) 

The things that come out of our mouth can either bless or curse people. We have a free will to choose how we speak. Our decisions either give life to the hearers, or they bring death and destruction. Words have power, and how we use them makes all the difference. May we ever seek the Lord to wash our words and help them align with His heart. Let our every word be a gift to those around us, as we encourage, lift up, strengthen, bless and give life with our words. 

O Lord, let my words, 

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Reflect a heart true; 

Extending kindness, 

And love, just like You. 

Let the truth in love, 

Bless all those around; 

Encourage, build up, 

So Your heart is found. 

Lord, help me offer, 

Encouraging words; 

May all who hear them, 

Be blessed by what’s heard. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words wisely. Thank You that as we submit our heart, voice and every word to You, You use what we say to bless the hearers. Forgive us for the times that we ignore the still small voice within that reminds us to speak in love. Teach us to make every word captive so that we clearly reflect Your love through our words. Show us how to use every word as a gift to those around us. Let Your love be made evident in all that we say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to use our every word as a gift. Amen. 

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

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

Joyful Confidence

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, NIV) 

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV) 

But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, proven character leads us back to hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, TPT) 

This morning, as I made my way in the wee hours of darkness, to go dog walking with a dear friend, I heard these very same verses being spoken on the radio. Both this morning and when I did my devotional reading this evening, I took pause and determined that I have so far to go. The Passions Translation is the one that I can most closely relate to, as it points to the joyful confidence in the midst of struggle, and that something good can come from pressure or pain. When we place our confidence in Christ, even in the mist of struggle, we discover that there is joy in Him. Patient endurance, character and hope, are all part of the beauty that come from our ashes. Right now, what I have spent the last twenty-four years of my life doing, has been flipped upside down and makes me feel like a brand-new teacher all over again. The learning curve required is cumbersome and challenging, yet I know that the more that I patiently persevere, the greater the chance that I will learn and grow. It is in that space of growing, that I find hope again. Hope that I can reach and teach kids, regardless of whether it is online or in person, and hope that one day, I will get to teach in a regular classroom again, face-to-face with my students. God uses our trials and difficulties to grow and refine us. It is always far easier to look back and see what He has done, than it is to recognize that He can work all things together for good in the middle of the messy. May we seek the Lord in our suffering and in our blessings, knowing that He can move mightily in all things, and produce the hope that shows our heart how to endure and overcome. 

No matter what comes, 

May our hearts find joy; 

Not in the heartache, 

But God’s grace employed. 

Beauty from ashes, 

Is what we all need; 

Character building, 

In hope, He will lead. 

May we each rise up, 

In Christ, persevere; 

For He overcomes, 

Always, He is near. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can utilize our every experience and circumstance to produce good in us and through us. Forgive us for our desire to get out of difficult situations the moment they strike. Teach us to trust You more so that we might joyfully embrace You and all that You provide in the midst of our messes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage patience and perseverance, every pointing to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to take joy in You in the midst of difficult, as You grow patience, perseverance, character and hope within us Amen. 

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

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Accept One Another

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) 

Accepting one another as Christ accepts us, means choosing to love, regardless of the former reasons that may have kept us apart. Our charge is to choose to love. Love does not tear down because of differences of opinions, lifestyles, philosophies, or the like. Christ is our ultimate example, and He chose those whom society would have considered ill-equipped to partner with the Son of God. If Christ can welcome those whom the world did not, shouldn’t we? God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. Every one of us who seeks the Lord and grants Him access to our heart and life, is able to walk in His will and choose to love and welcome those around us. Each day, each hour, and every moment, it is a choice. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us His heart and His eyes for those around us so that we accept and welcome one another as He does for us. 

The Lord is calling, 

For us to rise up; 

To love each other, 

Fill each other’s cup. 

May we choose partner, 

With God and accept; 

All those around us, 

None more and none less. 

For in the same way, 

God’s love knows no bounds; 

We’re asked to choose love, 

So His love is found. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us over and over again how to accept and partner with one another. You did not call people who had it all together, but rather You equipped those whom You called. Forgive us for the times that we have avoided accepting or partnering with others because their views did not align with our own. Teach us to seek and trust You to lead us in love. Show us how to love in a way that accepts others and builds them up, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in loving and accepting those around us as You do. Amen.  

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

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