Tenderness Tapers Tempers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Qualities Clearly Seen

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that the people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

I am fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Any direction I drive, there is incredible evidence of God’s power and creativity. From the majestic mountains that surround the Puget Sound, to the towering Evergreen trees that line roads wherever I go, I cannot deny the power and majesty of all that His hands have created. The very same God who hand-crafted such beauty, formed everything and everyone that draws breath. To look in the face of others, is to witness the handiwork of God. Knowing that is the very beginning of walking the way that we are called to walk. If we see and recognize the beauty and value in all that God has made, we cannot help but want to love as He loves us. May we take pause and breathe in the goodness of all that God’s hands have made, and give thanks to the One who created it all. Let us look to Him to lead us to love well.

The truth is made plain,

Through all that we see;

All things formed by love,

Intentionally.

The powerful hands,

That made mountains rise;

Gave each creature life,

From earth to the skies.

Show us how to love,

Appropriately;

So Your love’s made known,

Through all that is seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of creation sings of Your glory through its mere existence. Thank You that You are the same God who called mountains to rise and the very One who grants us life and breath and love. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the obvious evidence of Your power and love. Teach us to recognize the beauty in all whom we encounter, and show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that Your hands have made that clearly show us Your love and power that is present all around us. Amen. 

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Look of Being Chosen

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

If we love God and choose to serve Him, we are His chosen people. We are dearly loved and viewed through the lens of Christ by God. It ought to be our ambition to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Each are attributes that demonstrate God’s love to others in tangible and visible ways. Additionally, it is a way to worship and love God, as we are intentional to love others well. Kindness, humility, gentleness and patience only exist if there is love. To know and extend love, we need to know He who is love. As we receive God’s love, we are equipped and empowered to love as we have been called. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and show us His love, so that we may go forth in mercy, with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all.

Because we are loved,

We’re called to the same;

Live life with mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

Be kind and humble,

Choose humility;

Be gentle, patient,

To all whom we meet.

May our love and life,

With clarity show;

God’s kindness to all,

Make His goodness known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are dearly loved by You. Thank You that You call us to extend Your goodness through our every word and deed. Thank You that You tell us what it ought to look like. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Teach us how to extend each of these things in all that we say and do. Show us how to love everyone as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us be merciful, kind, humble, gentle and patient with all people. Amen.

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

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you. – 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Choose to Love

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

This is a beautiful reminder of what matters. Honesty, truth, trust, hope and perseverance are things that exemplify love. When we choose to love one another, we extend each of these things to each other. I appreciate the idea of love being a safe shelter, as loving and being loved well provides security and a sense of safety. Additionally, to love is a choice. God designed each of us for love, but we must choose to live according to our design. In order to love like the Lord, we need to know and trust Him. As we do, we become acutely aware of His love for us, and desire to share what we have been given. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His love so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

To love is to choose,

To speak truth always;

Rejoice in the good,

Found in each new day.

Love always protects,

Provides a safe space;

Where hope’s always found,

As is loving grace.

Love never will quit,

When the going’s rough;

Chooses persevere,

It’s always enough.

May we learn to love,

As we were designed;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

And always be kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us the way that You call us to love. Thank You that You do not ask of us, anything that You don’t already give. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to love as You call us to love. Teach us to receive all that You are offering so that we learn to love like You. Show us how to love others with honesty, trust, hope and a determination that never quits. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love like You. Amen.

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

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

To Love Our Neighbors

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, NIV)

The man answered, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ Also, ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, ERV)

The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’” – (Luke 10:27, TPT)

In this chapter of Luke, Jesus was having a discussion with a religious scholar who was trying to trap Jesus with his questions. The verse listed above is the scholar’s response to Jesus’ question that He asked in response to the man’s initial inquiry about what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus had asked him what was written in the Law, and then the man quoted verse 27. The scholar then went on to ask, “…who is my neighbor?” I imagine that Jesus’ response shook him to the core. Jesus went on to tell the parable of the good Samaritan. The story is about a man who was attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest passed by, saw the wounded, but continued on down the road. Next, a Levite, who was one much like the scholar to whom Jesus was speaking, did the same as the priest. Finally, a Samaritan (who was loathed by the scholar and his kind) came upon the injured man and not only helped him, but bandaged his wounds and took him into town on his own donkey. Upon arrival, the Samaritan took him to an inn and paid for his lodging so that the man might rest and recover. Jesus then asked the scholar which of the three had been a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers. He who had questioned Jesus, recognized that the one who had been a neighbor to the wounded man was the Samaritan who had been merciful. Jesus then told the scholar to go and do likewise.

The point in all this is for self-reflection. How can we love God and love our neighbors as we are called to love? What does it look like when we love with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind? We cannot be all things to all people, but we can begin to love our neighbors well, one at a time. Where are there needs? It is not difficult to find them if we move about with open eyes and hearts. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love those around us in ways that truly reflect His heart.

Love God and people,

To this we are called;

Each as our neighbor,

Next door and beyond.

To all those we meet,

We’re meant to show love;

To help and uplift,

With grace from above.

When we see a need,

Let’s do what we can;

Choose love like the Lord,

And live out His plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and show us how to love You and love those around us. Thank You that neighbor is not just about people who live nearby, but rather is anyone with whom we cross paths. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may be filled with compassion and grace that seeks to serve and love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we love the way we were created to love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and wisdom as to how to love best, all whom we encounter. 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

The Golden Rule

Do to others as you would have them do to you. – (Luke 6:31, NIV)

Do for others what you want them to do for you. – (Luke 6:31, ERV)

However you wish to be treated by others is how you should treat everyone else. – (Luke 6:31, TPT)

This verse, also known as “The Golden Rule”, was spoken by Jesus for all. If we are truly seeking to love as God loves us, we will do unto, do for, and treat others the same way we desire to be treated. It does not say, “If others reciprocate, do these things,” but rather, just treat everyone well. Jesus does not love only those who love Him back, He truly loves all of His creation – passionately, sacrificially, and completely. His love is enough to meet our deepest needs. Because we are loved so well, we ought to long to do the same for those around us. The more we invest time with our Savior, the more clearly we are able to reflect His heart to the world. May we look for ways to do for others, to speak into the lives of others, and to treat others with the love that comes from Christ.

Do unto others,

As you would have done;

Treat all with kindness,

As each day’s begun.

Show all the great love,

That comes from the Lord;

Give kindness and grace,

Treat all as adored.

For through the Lord’s eyes,

He knows us by name;

His precious children,

Whom He loves the same.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving all of us so well. Thank You that You teach us, show us and call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You to show us how, and equip us, to treat others the way we should. Fill us with Your love overflowing, so that we go forth and love all according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do unto others, do for others, and treat others the way we were created to do. 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

Let Our Lives Show Love

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Let every activity of your lives and every word that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you! – (Colossians 3:17, TPT)

Imagine what the world would be like if everything we said and everything we did, were done with the love and goodness of God. I suspect that not only the speaker and the doer would give thanks, but also the recipient of every word and action. Peace would reign and love would be proclaimed. Praise would be present throughout all our days. Though not one of us is perfect, nor has achieved a day where all that we do and say is done unto God, yet as we seek Him and grow in His grace, we come closer to loving as we were designed to love. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him thanks, for as we do He grows us in His goodness and grace.

Let every word,

That departs our lips;

Be drenched in goodness,

With kindness, equipped.

And may our actions,

Exhibit God’s love;

Done unto Jesus,

Our Savior above.

May our very lives,

Exude love and grace;

And let us give thanks,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live out the overwhelming love that You give to us. Thank You that as we pursue a life in You, You show us more and more how to love through our every word and deed. Forgive us for our words and actions that have not reflected Your goodness or grace. Teach us to submit our every word and deed unto You, so that all that we say and all that we do, is a loving reflection of You. Show us how to love those around us best, with our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. We give You thanks and praise for Your loving and gracious ways. Be glorified O God, as we lean into You to live and love like You. Amen.

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

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

The Light of Love

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

I think God gave us dogs to show us what it is to love each other. Dogs love their people, and are quick to demonstrate their love and affection. They do not judge others by appearances, but rather seem to sense the heart and what it needs, and simply love. Loyal and protective, tender and sweet, pups remind us that we can be loving, discerning, and kind, yet protect in strength when necessary. Imagine what the world would be like if we all loved similarly. People would greet each other with joy, and seek to befriend everyone throughout each day. Of course there are times when we must use wisdom and keep at safe distance, yet we can choose to love through lifting one another up, rather than allowing frustrations or fears to cause us to act or speak in a way that does not demonstrate love. Each time that we choose love, we are encouraging others to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love others and live in His light, so that no word or deed would lead others in a direction they are not meant to go.

Lord, teach us to love,

Sisters and brothers;

Be kind and give strength,

Give grace to others.

Show us what to do,

So Your love is shown;

Keep darkness from us,

And make Your heart known.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Lead others to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love each of us. Thank You that You show us what it is to love through those who have gone before us, and those who surround us. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions have displayed anything other than Your love and grace. Teach us how to love our sisters and brothers as You call us to love. Show us how to be light and life and love in such a way, that hearts are turned to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life of loving You and loving those around us. Amen.

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

It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them. – Psalm 44:3

Sing, Praise and Encourage

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord Jehovah. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, TPT)

As we encourage one another and give praise to God, we are reminded of our reasons to praise Him. When I pause and take time to observe everything and everyone that God has brought into my life, I cannot help but praise and thank Him. There is something so powerful about worship and praise. We may come before HIm hoping to show Him our gratitude and appreciation, and discover that as we do, we are the ones who are encouraged and built up. God invites us to enter into His presence. As we do, we cannot help but be changed. While our hearts grow lighter and peace floods in, God fills us with His love to extend to those around us. May we ever lift joyful praise to the Lord and allow our hearts to overflow to all those around us.

Let hearts overflow,

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

With sweet songs of praise;

To honor the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Sing and make music,

For all that is good;

Encourage others,

Be kind as we should.

May our hearts reflect,

Our thanks to the Lord;

As our lives give praise,

To Him we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that you call us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You or encourage those around us. Teach us to recognize the enormous blessing we have in life with You, no matter what goes on around us. Show us how to love all those with whom we interact, so that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You praise in all things. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting it is to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

True Community

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV) 

If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, ERV) 

In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, TPT) 

If we are truly living in community as we are called to do, our love for one another compels us to know and love each other so deeply, that when one is hurting – we all hurt; and when one is honored, we all rejoice with them. In a close-knit family, this is a natural response to one another. However, to become a body that cares for one another in the way that God intended, requires an investment of time and devotion to each other. As we grow in understanding and care for one another, we naturally mourn with those who mourn, and celebrate with those who celebrate. As a body, a true community, we come together with compassion and empathy. May we seek the Lord to show us and grow us in how to be in community with those around us. 

Lord, teach us to love, 

 One to another; 

With Your compassion, 

For sisters, brothers. 

Show us how to love, 

In ways that are clear; 

Through mourning and joy, 

Let all know You’re near. 

Show us how to mourn, 

With those stuck in grief; 

And how to rejoice, 

As they find relief. 

Help us walk beside, 

Helping each other; 

As You do for us, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to community in such a way, that we have empathy for those around us. Thank You that You call us to both mourn with those who are suffering, and to celebrate with those who are experiencing blessing. Forgive us for neglecting one and embracing the other, or for not investing well enough in those around us to know when either is taking place. Show us how to love as You love; for You walked among the broken and lifted up the downtrodden. Lead us to have compassion and empathy for those around us, no matter what season they find themselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to have compassion and empathy for all those around us. Amen. 

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2