Purposeful Words

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)

What we say matters. When we are negative or use ugly words, we are not building anyone up, and in reality, we are bringing ourselves and those around us down. It is better to say nothing than to be toxic with our words. We are called to build each other up and help strengthen them. Our words matter, and it is an intentional decision to be kind and encouraging or to remain quiet. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us so that our words are a gift that build others up and are beneficial to the hearers.

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your words. Thank You that You, lead, encourage, guide, and reside within us, and use Your words to fill our hearts with Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have used words to hurt, cut down, or complain, rather than to build up. Teach us to speak with grace and kindness, and to be silent when we cannot. Show us how to love those around us with our words in ways that encourage, strengthen and build up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our words as You intended, to encourage and build others up. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Grow Wisdom Within

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, HCSB)

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, ERV)

Reverence for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, VOICE)

True wisdom begins when we recognize that God is God and we are not. Reverence for God is a respectful recognition that He is all-powerful and greater than anything that comes against us. The sort of fear this is referring to is an awareness of how great God is and how small we are in comparison. God called all into being, and can build up or tear down with a single word. It is not a fear that cowers in the corner, but rather one that stands in awe of who God is and all that He holds in the hollow of His hands. As we realize who God is, and respect in reverence His power and might, we grow in our understanding and insight. May we ever seek the Lord with reverence, for He grants us wisdom and insight to truly understand who He is and how He loves.

Wisdom is a gift,

That’s given by God;

True understanding,

Of grace and His love.

The Almighty King,

Comes close unto us;

Gives us His insight,

As we seek Jesus.

With true reverence,

May we stand in awe;

Of all God has done,

And His love for all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Thank You that You show us more of You as we seek You with reverence and awe. Forgive us for our lack of seeking or our lack of recognition of how truly great You are. Teach us to recognize the enormity of Your goodness and grace, and lead us to live out our lives in the fullness of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point hearts unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You with respect and reverence to grow wisdom within us. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – Psalm 90:12

Room to Roam and Rest

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. – (Psalm 37:3, HCSB)

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

Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good – live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness. – (Psalm 37:3, VOICE)

Wherever we are, and whatever we are called to do, we ought to do our best as unto the Lord. Sometimes, doing so is staying right where we are, even when things are challenging. God is faithful to provide what we need, and we can trust Him as we choose to keep doing good. Today is the final full day of the school year. It has been one of challenges and change, yet here we are on the second-to-last day, still standing. As a teacher, it is difficult not to look ahead to next year and anticipate what the year will hold, but right now, we simply need to choose to continue to do what is good and be present. His faithfulness will see us through whatever the year will hold, but for now, we are approaching our time to roam and to rest as we recharge for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord and continue to be dependable in what we are called to do, for He is faithful, always.

Choose rise up in faith,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Keep doing the good;

Where we have been called,

God’s love has withstood.

Near in the struggles,

His strength was given;

And now there’ll be rest,

His peace to live in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all You provide;

Your rest and the room,

To roam as You guide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us where we are and lead us to where we need to be. Thank You that You bring us out of seasons of struggle and into times of rest and refreshment. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when uncertainty lies ahead. Teach us to trust You and Your faithfulness. Show us how to build up, encourage, and love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for time to roam and rest. Amen.

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

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Invest in Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may our Lord Jesus (the Anointed One Himself) and God our Father (who has loved us, comforted us eternally, and given us a good hope by His grace) bring comfort to your hearts and strengthen your wills to accomplish every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor finished a series entitled, “No One Stands Alone”. The big ideas in the messages have been about us all being called to community, not isolations, to find and be a mentor to others, and yesterday, finished up with a character study about Barnabas; as he was a fantastic example of what it is to come alongside others and be an encourager. Encouragement goes beyond simple “atta ways” and “you’ve got this”. To be an encourager is to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside others to help them continue to grow and thrive as they seek Him. This can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, verbally and the like. It is so much more than a kind word. Barnabas exemplified what it is to be an encourager, as he left what he knew and his community, to go encourage and build up the believers that were a couple of hundred miles away. Additionally, he helped provide finances for those who were lacking, which was a sacrificial demonstration of God’s love that was made tangible to those in need around him. As he closed out the service, Omar (our pastor) asked the questions, “Who are the people in your life who are like a Barnabas to you?” and “Who can you be a Barnabas to?” Both questions required little thought, as I am blessed with a long list of those who have invested in and encouraged me, and know many who are in need of encouragement in this season. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be an encouragement to those around us, both in word and action.

To choose to love well,

Be encouraging;

Is a lifestyle choice,

That we choose to bring.

Not in our own strength,

But led by the Lord;

Who shows us the way,

That grace is outpoured.

A love that is seen,

Not just by mere words;

But true investments,

That make actions heard.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Be encouraging,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to encourage and walk alongside us. Thank You for those whom You have called us to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we did not listen to Your leading as to how we might lift up and encourage those around us. Show us how to be dependent on Your Spirit to lead us to love those around us in ways that build them up and encourage them forward to all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Encourager to us all. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to encourage others well, and help us recognize and appreciate the people whom You have led to encourage us. Amen.

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

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Think About Each Other

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

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

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

If we take our eyes off of ourselves and take a look around us, it is easy to see the need for love, kindness and good deeds all around us. I know for me, when I am the recipient of such, I am inspired to go and do likewise. The status quo gets disrupted in the very best way, I am compelled to do differently. May we each be concerned about those around us – our family, our friends, our colleagues, and each individual we encounter in a day, to look for ways to encourage and make the day a bit brighter. Sometimes, it is as simple as extending a smile or kind word. Lord, help us to be ever listening to Your leading so that we might encourage each other and make Your goodness known.

Lord, help us to look,

Fill one another’s cup.

To see all around;

The need of others,

Let Your good be found.

Show us through Your eyes,

How each person’s seen;

Lead us in Your love,

Be encouraging.

Bring the good to mind,

That will bless, build up;

The goodness and love,

That will fill each cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to care well for one another. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this for us. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated care, concern and encouragement in countless ways. From touching the untouchable, to feeding those who were hungry, You lived and loved in practical and tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to trust in You and to listen in every situation and circumstance. Show us Your heart for each person we encounter and lead us to love and encourage as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for ways to love, encourage and do good for those around us. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

Praise for Provision

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

I so appreciate the way that David expressed his praise and gratitude to God. Despite hardships and challenges, he knew that God was his safety and strength, and that the Lord’s loving kindness would carry him through whatever came his way. Whenever I need comfort or encouragement, I find myself returning to the Psalms. Each time, I am again reminded of the faithfulness of God to provide strength, safety and love, and my heart is filled with reasons to sing His praise. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through intentional time that we are again reminded of the goodness of God and our purpose for giving Him praise.

I lift up my voice,

To sing praise to You;

For You are my strength,

Where all thanks is due.

You are my safe space,

When challenges come;

In love You provide,

With each rising sun.

Ever You are near,

Always You provide;

Your loving presence,

Safe space to abide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of strength and safety. Thank You that You are our defender and provider of loving kindness, in all things and at all times. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the things we cannot control. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You are greater than anything that stands before us. Show us how to love in ways that build up and strengthen those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You lovingly provide all that we need. 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

Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

To Encourage One Another

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

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

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

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

May we seek the Lord, 

His wisdom and grace; 

To love, encourage, 

For all of our days. 

We all have been called, 

To love each other; 

Encourage, lift up, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Each time we choose love, 

God’s will’s being done; 

Light in the darkness, 

We choose to become. 

So, let us rise up, 

Seek to learn and grow; 

Honor each other, 

Make the Lord’s love known. 

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

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

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

Each Word 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) 

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT) 

 

Words matter. They have the power to build up, or to devastate; bring tremendous joy, or pierce the heart with pain. I so appreciate the various translations of this verse, as each one clarifies the power of our words. If we consider every word we utter as a gift that we are charged to give away, perhaps we could more easily garnish each phrase delivered in grace, and be mindful of the purpose of our words. Whether our words are those of correction, direction, exhortation, devotion, appreciation, or affection, each can be delivered with grace to benefit the hearer as a blessing; a gift given with the intent of betterment. May we ever be mindful of our words, withholding ugliness, and choosing with intention, to allow our words to become “beautiful gifts that encourage others”. 

Yesterday evening, on my way home from a very long day, that had concluded with Open House at my school, I had the joy of hearing the gift of my mom’s words, as she shared her joy in the blessing of having had both physical therapy and speech therapy on the same day. Speech therapy was an assessment appointment, but physical therapy was her first “getting after it” appointment, as Monday’s time was to assess her need. Mom was encouraged and eager to have new work to challenge her and keep her growing in her recovery. Based on her response, I imagine that she too, had been the recipient of the gift of good words as she worked with the therapists.  

 

May each word we speak, unseal-my-lips

Be wrapped up in grace; 

Used to encourage, 

Choice loving display. 

Keep the unkind words, 

Where they have no voice; 

God be our filter, 

So love is our choice. 

Help us remember, 

Each word that we say; 

A powerful gift, 

To give love away. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words as gifts to those around us. Thank You that You have given us the treasured gift of Your word, and Your Holy Spirit within us to model and speak to our hearts, the words that bring life and love and light to those around us. Forgive us for the times that our words have been ugly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent in the moments we want to spew ugliness. Show us Your heart for others in the moments that we cannot see past our own injury. Lead us to love others in a way that our every word is a gift of grace to those around us that builds up and encourages and gives strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to utilize our words as gifts to those around us. Amen. 

 

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

 

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – Psalm 51:15