Fend Off Sin and Do Good

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, HCSB)

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV)

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away! – (Psalm 34:14, MSG)

Sometimes doing good is walking away from a fight that is tempting, and choosing to only engage when kindness can be extended. Our charge is to seek peace, not get sucked into petty disputes. The best way to do this is to pursue God and His will. Often, when I begin to get angry or frustrated with someone, God stops me in my tracks and I find myself asking Him to show me His heart for them. What I have discovered each time that I have done so, there is a softening in me toward the other. Usually, I discover that the very behavior that got under my skin, was motivated by their own hurts. Does it make it right? No, but it does provide compassion and the capacity to respond gently with goodness and kindness. This is a lifelong process to pursue, not a one-and-done in a tough space. May we ever seek the Lord to help us stop doing the things we ought not do, and do the good that He calls us into. In the process, may we find His peace and embrace it.

Turn from temptation,

To do what’s not right;

Demean or put down,

Jump into a fight.

Instead, seek the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

Choose extend the good,

That His word decrees.

Embrace the Lord’s peace,

As it enters in;

For as we listen,

We fend away sin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and a promoter of peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us Your heart for others and help us turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. Forgive us for allowing our pride to get the better of us so that we walk into a war that need not be waged. Show us Your heart for those around us so that we might see them through Your eyes. Lead us to extend goodness and kindness to those around us as we embrace Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk away from the sin that attempts to creep in, and lead us to embrace Your peace as we seek You to do the good that we have been called to do. Amen.

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

If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. – Matthew 18:15

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

The psalmist who penned this Psalm knew and understood the nature of God, individually; personally. Throughout time, this has remained true. Whenever we worry, find ourselves anxious or upset, or become overwhelmed with cares, as we slow down and seek the Lord, He brings us comfort and joy, even in the midst of circumstances that are not ideal. God is good and loving and kind, and He provides comfort in our cares and peace in our spaces of unrest. His love has brought joy in the midst of horrible situations. 

A few years ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. The circumstances and situation surrounding it were devastating. However, God made a way for me to be with her and to spend the first few months following the incident with her. He brought joy and laughter to us both, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We were able to delight in simple things, and His goodness and grace were overwhelmingly apparent. It has been a roller coaster of a road to recovery ever since, but all the while, God has brought comfort and joy to us all each step of the way. 

May we ever look to the Lord when we feel our cares compounding, for He is faithful to meet us in our moments, as He shows us His goodness and love, and comforts us with true joy that comes from Him alone.

The Lord brings comfort,

Sunset on Oahu. ❤

When chaos surrounds;

He’s peace that’s present,

And love that astounds.

God grants us His joy,

In the midst of pain;

He lightens our load,

And shows us He reigns.

When worry creeps in,

And peace slips away;

Seek the Lord Jesus,

For He is the way.

The way to know joy,

When it seems so far;

His love overwhelms,

Wherever we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our chaos and anxiety and bring us comfort and joy. Thank You that You are our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to flood our hearts with anxiousness and fear. Teach us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You to lead us through with Your goodness and strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be bearers of joy and comfort in challenging times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, knowing that You alone are our source of comfort and joy. Amen.

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

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

Life When All Seems Lost

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!” – (John 11:32, HCSB)

May went to the place where Jesus was. When she saw Him, she bowed at His feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” – (John 11:32, ERV)

Mary approached Jesus, saw Him, and fell at His feet. “Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would still be alive.” – (John 11:32, VOICE)

There is so much to the story of Lazarus. Though he was the one that Jesus raised from four-days dead, his sister, Mary, was also a key player in the miracle that Jesus provided for people whom He loved. In her grief, Mary spoke to Jesus, acknowledging the power He held in preventing death, and honestly shared her frustration and sorrow that He had not arrived four days sooner. It was not an accusation nor placement of blame, but rather a statement of faith in her sadness. She knew that had Jesus been present, He would have healed her brother. Jesus, full of compassion for His dear friends, wept, and then asked them to take Him to the tomb where Lazarus was laid. Once there, He asked that the stone be rolled away, and then He called out to God to bring Lazarus forth from the grave. Lazarus, still wrapped in grave clothes, walked out of the tomb. For Mary, this miracle went even further beyond her hope of what Jesus could do. Despite witnessing the power of God to raise a man from being four-days in the grave, faith again would be blinded by grief a short time later when Jesus Himself was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb. I wonder if Mary held hope that Jesus might do for Himself what He had done for Lazarus? Incredibly, she was one of the women to whom Jesus appeared after He had risen. Imagine her faith and determination when Jesus told her to go and let the others know. For me, this is a reminder that no matter how far gone things seem to be, God can bring life back to hopes, dreams, promises, and more. He can do immeasurably more than we could hope or imagine. Mary wished that Jesus had been there sooner, yet He still did the impossible. We may hope for answers or direction sooner, yet God can do so much more in His time. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He has compassion for us and will move in ways that are even better than we could hope or imagine as we wait and trust in Him.

In disappointment,

And times of sorrow;

We forget who holds,

All our tomorrows.

The very same God,

Who raised up the dead;

Can still move mountains,

Lifter of our heads.

He can restore hope,

Where all seems but lost;

Restore life to dreams,

We thought had been squashed.

Sometimes the answer,

Is not what we’d choose;

Yet there’s always more,

For His love renews.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You restore life into hopes and dreams, even when we think that they are long dead. Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our faltering faith when things seem hopeless. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, believing that You can do more than we could hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give life and hope and help where all seemed to be lost. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You in faith to be our help and hope, and to bring life to that which seems lost. Amen.

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

I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I put my hope in Your word. – Psalm 119:147

Moms Model Love

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. – (Colossians 4:6, HCSB)

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

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

This is the epitome of my mom and her mom before her; gracious, kind and wise. No human ever always has the right answer, but I think great moms come awfully close. These two women, as well as some incredible mother-like figures in my life, have modeled God’s love with the way that they speak with grace, kindness and love. It has never been unkind, but the truth is ever spoken in love. At times, the truth was to correct or redirect, but always with my best interest in mind. I am forever grateful for the gift of mothers in my life, and today, it seems only fitting to celebrate and honor them. May we ever give thanks to God for the gift of moms and mother-figures that He grants unto us, and seek Him to lead us in their likeness.

Let conversations,

Be filled with God’s grace;

Kind and with wisdom,

In every place.

For His love’s made known,

Through how we choose speak;

Actions and kindness,

Ever let us seek.

Seek to be loving,

Through every word;

Good spoken in love,

It’s how love is heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers and mother-figures who model Your love with words, actions and their very existence. Thank You for the blessings in my own life that have come through my mother, grandmother, youth leaders, church mommas, and incredibly wise and wonderful friends throughout the years. Forgive us for the times that we have not followed the example set before us and have spoken with a lack of love. Lead us to always speak with love, kindness and grace. May Your words lead the searching to see Your face and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You to ever lead us in Your love with every word we speak and all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Move With Compassion

“Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him. – (Matthew 20:33-34, HCSB)

They answered, “Lord, we want to be able to see.” Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. He touched their eyes, and immediately they were able to see. Then they became followers of Jesus. – (Matthew 20:33-34, ERV)

They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!” Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession. – (Matthew 20:33-34, MSG)

Jesus modeled a life of kindness and compassion. When two blind men called out to Him, He heard their cry, listened to their request, and then healed them. Though we do not have the ability to reach out and heal people, we can look upon others with compassion and do what we can with what we have. Sometimes, the need is simply to be heard. A kind, listening heart can change a person’s day for the better. So often, something as simple as a smile, a nod of encouragement, or words that extend life through goodness and grace, reset or realign a heart that was not in a good space. May we ever seek the Lord to meet our needs, and call on Him as we recognize that He is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

O Lord, You are good,

Beyond what we see;

Your light, life and hope,

Provide what we need.

All praise unto You,

For love that is more;

It supplies for all,

You open new doors.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your love and grace;

Full of compassion,

As we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the power of Your love, compassion and kindness as we seek You. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love and compassion for us as we seek You. Teach us to trust in Your faithfulness, and show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Help us to remember the power that compassion has as we extend to others what You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

The Reward in Repentance

The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, HCSB)

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. – (Proverbs 28:13, NASB)

Whoever tries to hide his sins will not succeed, but the one who confesses his sins and leaves them behind will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, VOICE)

Repentance is a powerful and necessary part of our walk with God. It is the admission of our lack of trust and self-reliance, and a turning to God to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. This is an ongoing process, for we have a free will and a fallen nature. It requires intentional seeking and purposeful self-awareness to recognize not only our need for God, but an awareness of the times that we have sought to build our own kingdoms and relied on our own strength. We need God’s wisdom, mercy and grace to walk in His way and do His will. May we ever seek the Lord with open hearts and sincere honesty, confessing not only our need for Him, but also asking forgiveness for the times that we have relied on ourselves instead of seeking the Lord to do what is good and right before Him. We must surrender our own plans and agendas and look to the Lord to lead us according to His good and perfect will.

O Lord, we repent,

From all we have done;

That dishonors You,

The Most Holy One.

Forgive the selfish,

Self-reliant things;

That shadow Your light,

The only True King.

Help us turn away,

From trying alone;

For in You we find,

Your way is made known.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

Lead us in Your love,

So people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and repent for our self-reliance and selfish ways, You forgive us and lead us in Your goodness and grace. Teach us to seek and rely on You in all things, for You are ever-present to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You want us to. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent from all that does not honor You, and depend on You to show us what to do in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19

All That We Can

When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one it belongs to. – (Proverbs 3:27, HCSB)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Do not withhold what is good from those who deserve it; if it is within your power to give it, do it. – (Proverbs 3:27, VOICE)

The thing is, we can always give good. Our kindness, attention and grace cost us nothing, yet provide much to those who need it most. God is the ultimate giver of all good, and we are called to love in the same way. Sometimes, it is through tangible giving of things, yet often, it is our time, energy and love that are truly needed. As we seek the Lord and receive His goodness and grace, we are compelled to love those around us in the same way. During this most wonderful season, there are always needs to be met. It is up to us to look around us and do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are. May we open our eyes to see the need around us and do what we can to give good to all.

Lord, open our eyes,

So that we may see;

The needs we can meet,

By grace, faithfully.

Teach us to choose love,

To honor and serve;

To love as we’re loved,

Kindness not deserved.

For all deserve good,

Not for what’s been done;

But rather because,

We’re daughters and sons.

All of creation,

You’ve made and called good;

So help us to love,

Each one as we should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and give good gifts, not because we deserve them, but because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for neglecting to do the good that we can, and lead us in Your love to give of our time, talents and resources wherever You ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can love those around us as You first loved us. Show us how to love like You wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do everything we possibly can, with what we have, wherever we are. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion for one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Love Deeply

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, HCSB)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

This is critically important in culture today. Currently, it is the seeming norm for people to blast those who do not share the same opinion as themselves rather than choosing to love and simply scroll past. Humans are allowed to have their own opinions. No one truly knows what has led a person to view the world through their lens, so name-calling or worse on social media is not going to change their view. Rather, if we love intensely and deeply, we can accept our differences and forgive or look past perceived faults. The more we love, the more willing we become to forgive, and consequently, we begin to value differing opinions and perspectives. Every day is new, and we are meant to treat it accordingly. If we hold onto hurts and disdain for another person, we are only poisoning ourselves. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love one another deeply and allow His love to cover us and teach us to forgive.

Choose to love deeply,

Forgive and give grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

We are created,

To love as God loves;

Forgive each other,

Like the Lord above.

God, give us Your eyes,

So we truly see;

The power love gives,

To set our hearts free.

Help us to choose love,

Despite what is done;

Grant us Your wisdom,

God, most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another. Thank You that love like Yours forgives and covers sin. Thank You that You first loved us in this way, as You forgive us each time we ask, and love us no matter what. Forgive us for our lack of love when people cross us or have different values than our own. Show us how to love well, no matter how others view the world. Lead us to bless and encourage and begin everyday with a clean slate. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love deeply and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Compelled to Love

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy… – (Titus 3:4-5a, HCSB)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (TItus 3:4-5a, ERV)

When the extraordinary compassion of God our Savior and His overpowering love suddenly appeared in person, as the brightness of a dawning day, He came to save us. Not because of any virtuous deed that we have done but only because of His extravagant mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5, TPT)

I am so thankful that the goodness of God is dependent on His goodness and love and not reliant on my ability to somehow earn it by doing enough good. It is His compassion and kindness that compel us to love one another, rather than something that we have done that earns our way into His good graces. His mercy is new every morning, and today I am again embracing the kindness and love He offers freely so that I might love as He loves. May we ever seek our Savior and His great love, for it is a gift He gives to all who earnestly seek Him.

The kindness of God,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is freely made known;

Not because of us,

We are called His own.

His love’s unending,

And His mercy shown;

Simply in seeking,

Our heart finds its home.

For in Him there’s peace,

Presence full of love;

Compassion and grace,

Goodness from above.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For mercy anew;

Love overwhelming,

That leads us in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your loving kindness and mercy are given freely, not dependent on what we have or have not done. Thank You that it is Your love and Your grace that compel us to do what You call us to do. Forgive us for thinking we can somehow earn Your favor, or acting as if we have to do enough or be enough to receive all that You lovingly and freely give. Teach us to trust in the truth of Your abundant and unending love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely offer and seek You to lead us in love. Amen.

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

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19