To Live and Love With Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. – (James 3:17, HCSB)

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 to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

In order to be the person that God has called and created me to be, I need His wisdom. I desire to be pure, peaceful, gentle and easy to please, and I long to do good for others without favoritism or hypocrisy. This does not naturally flow from humans on our own, but rather these traits grow in us when we seek the Lord and His wisdom. May we ever invest our hearts, minds and lives into knowing and growing in the Lord, so that we may live a life of love that bears good fruit.

The wisdom of God,

Bears beautiful fruit;

Pure, peaceful, loving,

Good soil grows deep roots.

Roots that are planted,

Secure in God’s love;

Seek to love others,

Like the Lord above.

Gentle with mercy,

Looking to do good;

Loving all others,

As God’s children should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us to seek You for wisdom, as Your wisdom teaches us to love as You do. Thank You that You are gentle, peace-loving and full of mercy, and that Your love extends to all who seek You no matter where we have come from or what we have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought Your wisdom to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You, for You alone know how to live and love best. Show us how to love wisely so that all those around us might come to know the power of Your loving kindness and the peace that is found in Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the wisdom to live and love in the ways You have called and created us to live. Amen.

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

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. – Ephesians 1:17

Sacrificial Love

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, HCSB)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – (John 15:13, NIV)

There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. – (John 15:13, VOICE)

Today is a day that many of us are given off as a day to appreciate and celebrate the sacrifices that those who have served or are still serving have made to protect the freedoms that we all know and love. Each person who has served, has willingly given up the comforts and conveniences of home to go and serve to protect our country. Whether foreign or domestic, by land, air or sea, our service members have set their own lives aside to protect ours. This willing sacrifice to serve is a reflection of the love that Jesus has for us. May we take time to honor and appreciate these men and women who have served, and give God the glory for hearts that are willing to serve and protect us all.

No greater a love,

Than one that lays down;

Their own life for ours,

So peace may be found.

Safety, protection,

Willingly they’ve served;

Placed lives on the line,

A love undeserved.

May we choose give thanks,

Appreciate those;

For the sacrifice,

And freedoms we know.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to serve and protect the freedoms we know and appreciate. Thank You that their sacrifice reflects the sort of love that You have for us all, as You paid the ultimate price for our security forever in You. Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted. Teach us to honor and respect those who have given on our behalf, and give You praise for hearts that willingly serve. Show us how to love like You, so that we might truly reflect the goodness and depth of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice, and honor those who have sacrificed for the security of our nation. 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

Remove Retaliation

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – (Romans 12:17, NIV)

If someone does you wrong, don’t try to pay them back by hurting them. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. – (Romans 12:17, ERV)

Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. – (Romans 12:17, VOICE)

In my college years, I had a dear friend who had an awesome strategy to keep himself in check when people were rude on the road. Every time someone would cut him off or do something that felt dangerous that could lead to anger or retaliation, he would yell, “Jesus loves you,” at the person who was driving offensively. Though the yell was through closed windows, the words were what his own heart heard, rather than an angry or rude response. It was a reminder to himself that he did not need to do anything to get back at the driver, and to hold onto the truth that they were indeed, loved by God. As a passenger, not only did it diffuse the frustration with the recklessness of others, but it planted a seed that I never forgot about what I could do instead of retaliating. This principle is useful in responding to people in general. If they are unkind, I can smile and walk away, reminding myself that they are loved by God, or I can extend compassion, despite the ugly that I received. God is gracious and kind, and He loves us, even when we are the most unlovable. If He can love and forgive and receive us, then we ought to extend the same to those around us. No, this does not mean we are meant to be a doormat, but we are not meant to return evil for evil. 

Wrong done unto us,

Should not be done back;

We are called to peace,

Not to choose attack.

Instead we are called,

Let love lead the way;

Give good undeserved,

Like God does each day.

He gives us His grace,

His mercy and love;

And we’re called to do,

As the Lord above.

Father we need You,

To show us Your way;

Keep us from evil,

Lead us each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and have shown us through Your Son, that we are not to retaliate and return harm. Forgive us for the times that we have returned evil for evil, be it in our words, thoughts or actions. Teach us to give all to You, and to trust You to move on our behalf. Show us how to make Your love known, even when love is the last thing that we want to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what to do when harm or evil is directed at us. Lead us in Your everlasting love. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Opportunities for Good

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, NIV)

When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, ERV)

So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family. – (Galatians 6:10, VOICE)

It always amazes me that when we take the opportunity to do good, we end up feeling blessed. Every time I choose to help, extend kindness, walk beside – whatever the good God is showing me to do – I discover my heart is filled and I feel blessed in the process. I imagine that this is why God calls us to be in community. We are provided opportunities to both give and receive His goodness through those whom He has purposefully placed in our lives. May we ever use every opportunity provided to do the good that God intended, for He is faithful to bless and encourage us all as we do.

The Lord is faithful,

To give us the chance;

To do the good things,

Just as the Lord’s asked.

The good that we do,

Becomes a blessing;

To us and to them,

His love expressing.

So, look for the good,

That we each can do;

Opportunities,

To see God’s love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You for providing opportunities for us to walk beside, help, and encourage those around us. Thank You that in the process, we end up blessed with Your goodness and faithfulness in ways we would never expect. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to do the good You were showing us to do. Teach us to trust You and Your leading, for You are faithful to show us each next step. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and faithfulness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take every opportunity to do the good that You show us to do. Amen.

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

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

Words to Heal

The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, HCSB)

Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, ERV)

A word of encouragement heals the one who receives it, but a deceitful word breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, VOICE)

There is something to be said about encouraging words. They truly give life in the midst of difficulty, especially when the one who extends encouragement is genuine. Conversely, devious or deceitful words can be devastating. As an educator, I am witness to both types of communication. Far too often, kids are speaking crushing words to one another. Intentionally, I choose to speak encouragement at every opportunity possible, as my hope is to combat the negative messages they are receiving. The thing is, words have the power to bring life or destruction to all of us. I imagine we all can recall the way words have impacted us. Even if I do not recall the specific things that those who have spoken life-giving words to me said when I needed it most, I do remember how their kindness made me feel. My hope is that I can extend the same to the people whom God places along my path. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to offer encouragement to those around us that is life-giving. 

O Lord, help us speak,

Though I have no recollection of what he said, it is clear how his words made me feel.

Encouraging words;

Words that offer life,

That love may be heard.

Please silence the thoughts,

That need not a voice;

Words that would bring harm,

Let love be our choice.

Lead us in Your love,

To speak as You would;

To lift, encourage,

Choose highlight the good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that words have the power to encourage and build up. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us words to speak and eyes to see where it is needed most. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken words that have done harm. Show us how to silence the words that wield wounds, and to speak the healing words that You place on our hearts to encourage those around us. Lead us to love people as You do, and use our words to bring light and life and joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us ways to offer encouragement and speak life into the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63 (Jesus was our ultimate example of life-giving words)

Desire and Strength to Do Good

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. – (Philippians 2:13, HCSB)

Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases Him, and He gives you the power to do it. – (Philippians 2:13, ERV)

God is energizing you so that you will desire to do what always pleases Him. – (Philippians 2:13, VOICE)

When we seek the Lord and invest our hearts and lives in knowing Him more, He empowers us to both want to do His will and He grants us what we need to follow through. We are all a work in progress and the process transpires throughout our lifetime. The more we walk with Him, the more aware we become of what He wants for us, and the greater our desire to do what He wants us to do. Despite our own shortcomings and weaknesses, His power provides as we abide, and we are granted all that we need to move forward in His strength for His purposes. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him room to move in our hearts and lives so that we have the desire and the strength to do what He is calling us to do.

Ever seek the Lord,

Photo by Nitin Arya on Pexels.com

His strength and His will;

For He is faithful,

With love to fulfill.

He grants us power,

To keep pressing on;

Desire for good,

His love makes us strong.

He shows us His ways,

As we choose to ask;

Equips us with strength,

To complete each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You grant us the desire and strength to rise up and do Your will. Thank You that it is not something that we can try to be and do better, but rather we seek more and more of You, and the outcome is a heart that longs to be who You call us to be. Forgive us for our stubbornness and independence that keep us from relying on You to be our source and supply. Teach us to trust in You, for You are faithful to lead us, guide us, and equip us for each new day. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that You love fuels all to pursue the life that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, guide us, and strengthen us to do Your will throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

To Be Community

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! – (Psalm 133:1, VOICE)

There are few things as wonderful as being in a community that works together and maintains peace among themselves. As an educator, I am in a unique situation, as many of my colleagues and I have worked together at our school for many years. Though different personalities and passions outside of school, we are united in purpose. Even when our circumstances have been less than ideal (think entire Covid lockdown and then navigating return) we have supported and encouraged each other. Because I have been the utility teacher that has been shuffled from subject to subject and grade to grade, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many of my colleagues over the years. It has been a blessing to get to know and work closely with each. It really does feel familial and is the reason I have spent my entire career at one school. My hope and prayer is that the students too, will feel the sense of family and learn to function together in peace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to live together in peace with those whom He has placed in our lives.

United purpose,

Helps us each to see;

To work together,

In sweet harmony.

For peace shall be found,

As we look to see;

The needs of others,

Intentionally.

Oh it is so good,

And pleasant to be;

In supportive space,

True community.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that it is good and pleasing to You when we work together for the common good and allow Your peace to reign. Thank You that as we live and work together, it feels familial. Forgive us for the times that we have done anything to upset the peace that You intended to be present. Teach us to seek You to lead us in Your love so that we may live as brothers and sisters that pursue the good You have set before us. Show us how to love as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to live as brothers and sisters to extend Your goodness and peace to all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

Devoted to One Another

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – (Romans 12:10, HCSB)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

True devotion looks different to everyone, but to me, it is shown in recognizing the needs and desires of one another and being willing to share in their joy, even if it is not your own. Some of you were around to read about my Viking and my fishing adventure in Westport. Sadly, despite catching our limit in fish, I was extremely seasick and had to dig deep to rally. Yesterday, for his birthday, I purchased a three-hour deep sea fishing adventure for the two of us. Prior to arriving in Hawaii, I had spoken with a seasoned fisherman for advice as to how to prevent a repeat experience the next time. I followed ALL of his advice, and am thrilled to report that I felt great out on the water! It is awesome how God helps us and answers prayers through practical help and divine intervention. Because I was willing to try again, I was blessed with a far better experience. I went into the trip with the attitude that I would be okay either way, as it was only going to be three hours of my life. Mark was blessed and overjoyed to be out on the water, and thankful that I was able to enjoy the experience as well. He honors me with all of my wild wants to wander and explore, so how could I not at least try? May we ever find practical ways to show devotion to one another in love, and give room to put others first, in the same way that Jesus did for us all.

To be devoted,

In brotherly love;

We look past ourselves,

To God up above.

Love is in choosing,

To put others first;

To love with actions,

Is how love’s dispersed.

Just as Lord Jesus,

Chose to give us all;

May we be willing,

Help others stand tall.

Even in challenge,

The Lord sees our hearts;

He grants us the strength,

To do what’s our part.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You set the standard of what it means to live sacrificially and to love completely. Thank You that as You call us to do the same, You supply what we need to be a blessing to those around us. Forgive us for fearing what could be lost, rather than that which can be gained. Show us how to be devoted to one another in love in ways that make Your heart tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us and rely on You to supply all that we need to be devoted to You and to one another. Amen.

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

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our words and thoughts are influenced by what we take in, and by those with whom we spend our time. The most important influencer that we ought to seek at the start of our day is God. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and will rescue us from our own thoughts that wander. His Spirit shows us what is good, and when we set our minds and hearts on these things, the words of our mouth are a reflection of such. May we ever seek the Lord to direct the musings of our heart and the words to which we give a voice.

O Lord, help my words,

To clearly show You;

All spoken in love,

That show Your heart true.

Father, keep my thoughts,

On that which is good;

Grant wisdom and grace,

To do as I should.

Let love lead in all,

I think, do and say;

Show me what You’d do,

Please come light my way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead and guide us in what is good, so that our thoughts and words may be a reflection of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been led by Your love. Teach us to trust and depend on You to show us what is good and pleasing unto You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your heart is made known through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to direct our thoughts to things of You and seek You to grant us Your words of love. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2