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

Love Answers With Action

Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. – (1 John 3:18, HCSB)

My children, our love should not be only word and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

Love is a funny thing. We can say it all we want, but until we see and experience it for ourselves, it is merely a theory that holds little value. God designed us intentionally. Our hearts are created to give and receive love. People have varying ideas as to what love is, for in our broken human condition, the word often becomes skewed and hollow rather than something to embrace, give and receive. Most of us really begin to understand what real love is when it is shown through the actions of others who have no expectation of anything in return. Amazingly, the more we know and experience love, the more we are filled up and ready to love others in the same way. With God, we grow in our understanding of the magnitude of His love for us; a love that gave all so that we might have life in abundance. If we desire to truly love as Christ loves us, we must make love and grace a way of life. God spells out for us what love is and is not. 

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it is not boastful, it is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love, not with mere words, but with our every decision, action, and lifestyle.

O Lord let our love,

Be far more than words;

May our actions speak,

Beyond what is heard.

Lead us and guide us,

To love as You do;

Let our very lives,

Give praise unto You.

As we choose love well,

With actions and deeds;

May Your love be clear,

The answer to needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that You not only call us to love, but You show us how and You equip us to do so. Forgive us for the times that our words have been hollow or our actions have not been a reflection of the love that You give to us. Teach us to love others as You first loved us. Show us how to live a life of love that makes Your love evident through our every action and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love well with our lives. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

Everything Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, Who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder of this very truth. God gives us good gifts. I was blessed with time to run in the morning with my long-time running bestie to start my day after walking the pups, then was able to spend much of the day with one of my dearest friends, who is for all practical purposes, family. Though we seldom find time to get together, each time we do, we pick up where we left off. Like the goodness of God, the goodness of friendship does not change. Additionally, time with my family during a family dinner out, was yet another gift from above. Our typically quiet evening meal was disrupted, and laughter and stories exchanged. For me, that in and of itself was a gift, as dining with four big guys is usually focused on consuming what is in front of them, not on conversation with those around them. Friends and family from near and far took time out of their day to send greetings and kind wishes as I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am so grateful for the good and perfect gifts that God has granted. He knows our heart and how to bless us best. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

The Lord is so good,

His love never fails;

No matter what comes,

His love will prevail.

Goodness and mercy,

Throughout all our days;

His faithful blessings,

Show goodness and grace.

Each day is a gift,

Treasure to embrace;

Surrounded by love,

And washed by His grace.

All thanks be to God,

His love never ends;

Each time that we seek,

Sweet answers He sends.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for placing people in our lives that show us Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for taking anything for granted, for everything good comes from You and is deserving of our gratitude. Teach us to trust in Your goodness, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us perfectly. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

To Grow in Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Phillipi is still relevant to us today. If our love grows more and more, so that we gain knowledge and understanding to discern what is best, we will become more and more of who God calls us to become. To be pure and blameless is not something we attain on our own, but rather through Christ within us. We fall short and make poor choices, but Christ loves and forgives us and places us back on the path that He has set before us. In light of all of the countless ideas and ideologies that seem to swirl about in current culture, I need Christ to give me revelation and insight into what is His very best. To choose the most excellent way of all is to choose love in all things. So often, it is difficult to know how we can love best. God is gracious and kind, and He answers when we ask Him. Constant pursuit leads to rich revelations, for God is our Father who longs to teach His children. Intentional time with Christ is the way to grow in understanding, as we learn more of who He is, we more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and understanding so that we can grow more and more in His loving likeness.

O Lord let us be,

Ever seeking You;

Grant understanding,

So we may love true.

Grow us in likeness,

Understanding too;

Forgive us our faults,

Please change and renew.

Show us each new day,

What You ask of us;

Give wisdom to know,

Love just like Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You honor our earnest seeking with wisdom and understanding. Thank You that You ever change, renew and grow us to love more like You. Forgive us for thinking we can somehow change or do better on our own. Lead us to follow after You with all that we are, so that we may grow in knowing how to love You and love people better. Show us what to do to make Your love known to all those whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with all that we are so that we may become all that You intend. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Loving God Includes Loving People

And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:21, NIV)

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:21, ERV)

The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. – (1 John 4:21, MSG)

God does not mince words. There is no lack of clarity in His command. If we love God, we must love people too. Loving people requires that we have what is best for them in mind; that we pray for love and peace for all. Of course there are those whom we must love from afar, as attempts to navigate a healthful relationship have been exhausted and we are not meant to be a doormat or subject to abuse. However, even with those who have ill intent toward us, we can pray for their well-being and for God’s love to penetrate their hearts and minds. In order to love people as God intended, we must grow in our love and knowledge of who God is and understand how He loves. God’s love is extravagant and merciful; it is sacrificial and forgiving. We are only able to love because He first loved us. The Lord loved us when we were broken and far from Him, and He loves us as we seek and listen to Him. 

When I think about loving in the same way that we love our brothers and sisters, it reminds me of the power that is placed in such love. I know that I would do anything and everything humanly possible to help and bless my own sister, for both her joys and sorrows are shared by me because of love. Our charge is to love all those around us in the same way. 

Considering the current state of the nation, with so much division and strife, how can we choose to love well? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that love is a choice. It is an ongoing, ever-growing, intentional decision to be kind and desire the very best for those around us. Barriers break down when we choose to love. We must learn to listen to understand and choose to love, even when it is seemingly impossible. Sometimes, love is not saying what we desire to say, as our words are to “prove” a point, rather than to edify those around us. May we seek our Savior to show us how to love Him and love all people in the way He intended.

We are commanded,

Sister love from the start. ❤

To walk well in love;

Love God and people,

Trust grace from above.

As we choose love God,

Sisters and brothers;

We give the Lord room,

Work with each other.

Lord, help us to choose,

Your heart and Your way;

Let Your love lead us,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we seek You and place our heart in Your hands, You transform us to more clearly reflect the love You have for all. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and actions have grieved Your heart. Teach us to love You and love all people well. Show us how we are meant to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and pursue a life that demonstrates love to all those around us. Amen.

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

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

We Wait in Hope

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NIV) 

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – (Psalm 33:20, ERV) 

The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. – (Psalm 33:20, TPT) 

This certainly feels like a season of waiting. Waiting to advance in phases of reopening; waiting to freely visit with friends and loved ones; waiting to celebrate major milestones and birthdays in the way in which we all are accustomed to do so; and waiting for answers as to what the coming year will look like for so many impacted by the public education system. With Christ, we are able to wait in hope, trusting that He has a plan and will protect and strengthen us for all that lies ahead. Though the road ahead feels long and uncertain, we can move forward, one step at a time, with hope in knowing Who is ultimately in control. May we wait on the Lord with hope, ever trusting in He who surrounds us with His presence, and strengthens us as He protects. 

May we ever turn, 

With hope, to the Lord; 

As we have to wait, 

In grace He affords. 

When it seems we’re stuck, 

A space of on hold; 

Hope grants us the strength, 

To trust and be bold. 

Bold in the unknown, 

Recognizing grace; 

Protection and peace, 

Granted all our days. 

Keep moving forward, 

However He calls; 

For there is a plan, 

As strength He installs. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us hope as we trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and protection. Forgive us for our impatience in the waiting. Teach us to trust You with all of our days, ever aware of Your protection and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that present hope that inspires trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait with hope for all that is yet to come. Amen. 

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Overcome Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. – (Romans 12:21, VOICE)

 

As social media has been flooded with the atrocity of the killing of an innocent man, out for a run, who was senselessly chased down and murdered by two self-professed vigilantes, who had no authority to question his motives for being out on a run, much less gun him down in cold blood. What is even more evil in all of this, is that nothing seemed to be done to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers until there was public outcry, due to the clear evidence produced in a release of video footage of the barbarity. For many of us, we feel overcome with horror at the wickedness that has played out through such a heinous act against humanity. That being said, the good that is rising up to bring justice to Ahmaud’s case, is overpowering the evil that transpired. No, there is nothing that will ever bring Ahmaud back to life, nor is there any justice that seems valid when a life is so senselessly taken; however, the good is raising awareness and aiding in a change of mindset for ordinary things that so many have taken for granted, and Ahmaud’s murderers are finally being charged. As a fellow runner, my heart aches for the fear that already exists in those who worry about a similar encounter, and for anyone who chooses not to go at all, due to the evil that is present and waiting to pounce. Awareness, education, wisdom and support are ways to combat and overpower the evil with good. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue to listen to the voices of those who have encountered and live with a constant heightened awareness of evil, simply because of the color of their skin, so that I can do what I can to be better and contribute to good overcoming such wickedness. May we seek the Lord to direct our steps to bring about a safe, peaceful, loving existence among all people, just as He intended.

 

So senseless the death, wp-15890342122543911826434050258269.png

Of a man, so young;

Out to maintain health,

With joy, he would run.

Evil encounter,

Malicious intent;

A life no longer,

Such darkness present.

The saying, it goes,

“Your sins find you out;”

The truth bringing good,

Airing evil out.

May justice be brought,

Where evil once stood;

May all do better,

And seek to do good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that good overcomes evil, even when the evil that takes place seems insanely overwhelming. Please be with the family of Ahmaud Arbery; though there is nothing that will ever make this senselessness right, let justice be served to those who murdered this young man. Thank You that Your intention is for there to be peace among Your people. Forgive us for the things we have said, done, or left unsaid or undone, that have prevented the good that You intended. Teach us to do and be better. Bring healing to our land, O God. Show us how to love one another, as sisters and brothers, in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we may ever overcome evil with good. Amen.

 

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

 

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

He Answers

I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me. – (Psalm 120:1, NIV)

I was in trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me! – (Psalm 120:1, ERV)

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayers. – (Psalm 120:1, NLT)

 

After waking from a disturbing dream about school, there is comfort in the reminder to call on the Lord; He is faithful to help and answer our prayers. I know that God’s plans are far greater than my own, and He is faithful to lead me in the direction that I am meant to go. That being said, I am also in my current space for such a time as this. Though I know not why the year has unfolded into such a battle, there is good to see in each and every day. One of the ways that God has answered, has been through the opportunity that I was given to take on a new coaching role at the high school. No matter how my school day had gone, walking into the gym brought joy and hope, excitement and strength, as we worked together toward a common goal. Now, a week post-high school, I just enjoyed the first meet of our middle school season, yesterday afternoon. The very same blessings that were bestowed upon me as I walked into the high school gym, I find in the gym at the middle school where I teach and coach as well. One of my answers currently, is the joy in helping girls discover what they are capable of doing when they are determined to work hard and stick with it. I do have the same moments of blessing in the classroom, but they are often tainted by poor behavior choices that demand my attention, in order to keep the classroom safe. In the gym, that is not the case. As I wait and trust, I will continue to call on the Lord, knowing that He has answers that will lead me to a space of peace. May we ever seek the Lord and place our troubles in His hands, for He hears and answers our prayers.

 

Choose call on the Lord,

wp-15829890321781040980143880517549.jpg

Photo courtesy of Pictured Memories

He’s faithful to hear;

When there is trouble,

His help’s ever near.

The Lord’s plans are good,

His heart is to bless;

To strengthen, lift up,

Remove our distress.

He leads us places,

Beyond what we’ve known;

To show us His strength,

As our faith is grown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in our troubles and distress, You hear our prayers and answer us. Thank You that Your answers are far greater than what we could ask or imagine. Forgive us for losing perspective in the midst of our struggles, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust that You are always moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us who are struggling, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged in the wait for Your new. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and thank You for the blessings that You bring, even in the midst of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18

He Hears

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

You will answer me, God; I know You always will, like You always do as You listen with love to my every prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, TPT)

 

God in His amazing grace, hears our every prayer. He is faithful to answer as we ask, if only we seek Him. Yesterday was a day abounding in new, to the point of being a bit overwhelming before it even began. In His grace, God met me each step of the way, and the day went fairly well. New classes, new season and a new semester were each met with new strength, wisdom and resolve. All are a work in progress, but the tangible reminder that He answers what we ask of Him is an ongoing motivation to continue to depend on Him. May we call on the Lord, for He will answer, each time we pray to Him.

 

As we call on God, Compassion in Confrontations

He hears what we say;

Both spoken aloud,

And what our hearts pray.

Faithful to answer,

The God of all grace;

He knows what we need,

Throughout all our days.

So, seek Him and ask,

In faith, choose to pray;

God sees and answers,

In the best of ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear and answer us. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that keep us from asking, or questioning when answers come differently than we would have imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as Your ways are best and You love to bless Your children. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that extend Your heart and hope in spaces they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and know that You hear all that we lift before You. Amen.

 

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

 

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Ask for Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – (James 1:5, NIV)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but He will overwhelm your failures with His generous grace. – (James 1:5, TPT)

 

Twice over the past week, I have found myself in meetings where I needed the right words to communicate clearly. God’s wisdom and grace were necessary to navigate each situation, and God was faithful to grant me the words to speak that reached the hearts of those who were meant to hear. It was nothing that I had mapped out or planned, for neither situation warranted a script, nor included a predictable narrative. Rather, I had prepared for each encounter by covering the time in prayer, asking for God’s wisdom and grace to go before me and be present with me, so that all would go well, according to His will. God is faithful to grant us the wisdom that we lack when we ask, for He always wants the very best for His children. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, as He is faithful and generous to joyfully give all that we lack.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic afternoon together with my sister, brother-in-love, and mom in Portland. Mark and I drove down to meet the trio for lunch, as they drove a bit north from Albany. The food was excellent, and the company and conversation, even better. We had the opportunity to discuss important next steps in mom’s healing journey, and she is very much looking forward to this upcoming chapter. (Stay tuned, as I do not want to steal mom’s thunder. 😉) After lunch, mom, Meg and I went to have a little shopping adventure, while the fellas ventured off together in a direction a bit more intriguing to them. Later, we all reconvened at Starbucks to say our “see you laters”, and our two vehicles headed back for our respective homes.

 

The God of all grace, wp-15806529391015656408296651316835.jpg

Grants us what we lack;

If we only seek,

Come to Him and ask.

When we are unsure,

Don’t know what to do;

Ask God for wisdom,

He’s faithful and true.

He provides the words,

Whatever we need;

To follow the path,

Where His best will lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lack wisdom and seek You for answers, You are faithful to meet us and lead us. Thank You that You love to bless Your children with wisdom to know Your best in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You for help or answers. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to show us Your best for our lives. Direct our steps so that we may love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom, and wait on You for answers; as You so clearly speak to our hearts and minds. Amen.

 

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

 

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8