Tend Well the Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT)

It is the love and faithfulness of God that ought to compel us to treat our minds and bodies and His temple. When we love God and invite Him into our lives, He is present with each thing that we take in, be it exposure, what we eat, and how we care for what we have been given. That reminder alone inspires me to care well for my body and to use caution with the things to which I choose to expose my heart and mind. God has made me a very visual creature, so I know that I cannot watch anything that I don’t want to live over and over again. Rather than a filter, my mind is more like a recorder that can get stuck on repeat when exposed to graphic violence and gore. Because of this, I will not and cannot watch violent shows, games, etc. Rather, I am intentional to begin each day with Him and focusing on His word, so that my heart and mind are equipped with His goodness and love. We are all a work in progress. It is an ongoing labor of love throughout our lives, not just a quick fix for the here and now. The healthier and stronger our bodies and minds are, the better equipped we are to walk out our purpose. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to tend well the temples that we have been given.

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell within us when we invite You. Thank You that You call us to tend our temples well, so that we are best equipped to honor, love and serve You. Forgive us for the times that we either neglect to care for our bodies, or expose our minds and hearts to things that do not glorify You. Teach us to ever seek to honor You through the care of our body and mind. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to tend the temple we have been given in a way that honors You. Amen.

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

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:11

The Power of Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, NIV)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, MSG)

Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits. – (Proverbs 16:24, TPT)

The power held in the words we speak is incredible. When we speak with kindness and grace, souls can be soothed and health improved. As my son continues on his road to healing, it is amazing to hear the strength returning to his voice. Family and dear friends have been in communication with him, and I can hear in his voice the benefit of kind encouraging words spoken or sent to him. For me, I have experienced tremendous kindness and grace from those around me, and I am certain it is one of the ways that God supplies His strength. May we ever speak gracious, kind and life-giving words to those around us, for there is power present when we speak sweet words of life.

Each word that we speak,

Can be used for good;

For grace and kindness,

Blessings understood.

Sweetness to the soul,

Goodness for the health;

A gift of kind words,

Give love that is felt.

May we mind our words,

Deliver them well;

The good that they bring,

Space of peace to dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and power present in the words we speak. Thank You that when we communicate with goodness and grace, You bless the hearer beyond what we realize. Forgive us for the times that we have not used our words well. Teach us to ever communicate in ways that extend Your goodness and kindness. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging, life-giving words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak life to all. Amen.

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

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

Let Us Listen First

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends; Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

This requires an ongoing decision to be intentional to listen, and truly seek to understand. If we merely listen to respond rather than comprehend what is being spoken, anger has room to rise up, instead of compassion and kindness. Yes, there are times that what is being spoken is not beneficial for anyone. Even then, how we respond makes all the difference. Righteous anger allows us to appropriately respond in love and in truth. The ego, on the other hand, causes responses that only further fan the flames. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen well, so that when we choose to speak, our words are full of life and love and grace.

Lord, help us to seek,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To listen and learn;

Use our ears and heart,

For gracious return.

Let not our voices,

Respond without thought;

Help us understand,

And love as we ought.

For if truth be told,

Wisdom can be found;

In hearts that listen,

As Your grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to lead with listening to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without truly hearing, or allowed anger to rise and taint our words or actions. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to listen to understand, speak in love, and allow anger to help us bring change through Your goodness and grace. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You to grow us more like You. Amen.

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

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

All Thanks to God

I thank my God every time I remember you. – (Philippians 1:3, NIV) 

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. – (Philippians 1:3, MSG) 

My prayers for you are full of praise to God as I give Him thanks for you with great joy! – (Philippians 1:3, TPT) 

This captures my heart for each of my family and friends. As I think of each person who has poured into my life through their love, support and kindness, I become overwhelmed with gratitude. On Saturday, as my love and I spent the day with my mom, my heart was full of thanks as we witnessed all that God has done to orchestrate the details so that mom could move back home. My sister too, has been an integral part of her return, as she is an amazing details person, and a human resources super star. It has taken tremendous teamwork to make this dream work, and get mom home safely. Dear friends, who are more like family, have also been instrumental in her move. The smile on mom’s face and the joy in her voice when we speak, remind us anew that she is where she belongs. Additionally, the gal whom Meg found to help mom out during the day with errands, cleaning, appointments and the like, is a phenomenal fit. God is so good, and we cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. 

All thanks be to God, 

For blessings He gives; 

Through loving people, 

Who love as we live. 

For kindness given, 

With no strings attached; 

Love that’s invested, 

Goodness that’s unmatched. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible blessing that You give us through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the ways that You make Your love tangible through the people around us. Thank You for the gift of family and friends. Forgive us for taking the blessings for granted, and not thanking and praising You enough. Teach us to remember who blesses us with goodness and grace best. Show us how to extend love as You do to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for all those whom You have placed in our lives in love. Amen. 

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

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:57

Wisdom in Exposure

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV) 

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG) 

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything from our lives that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT) 

If we love and respect God, and the temple within where He dwells, our objective ought to include removing the things from our lives that lead us away from Him and His will.  We must care for the temple, both outside and in. This means that the things that we expose ourselves to and consume, either edify and align with God, or they do not. With all that is going on in our country and our world, it is especially important to keep the main things, the main things. When we choose to use wisdom as to what we take in, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on where our hope is held. Though I stumble and fall short, my hope is in Christ, and I desire to honor Him through every decision I make, and how I care for the heart, mind, body and soul that He has given me. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on Christ and His ways, so that we may rid ourselves of everything that contaminates body and spirit, and seek Him to develop His holiness within us. 

Let us choose part ways, 

With things that distract; 

Both mind and body, 

Temptations, attacks. 

Instead, let us fix, 

Our hearts upon Him; 

So Christ is honored, 

By what we take in. 

Though all’s permitted, 

Not all things are good; 

Seek God to guide us, 

To do as we should. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lead us in how to best care for our body, heart, soul and mind. Thank You that You provide wisdom and guidance as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed garbage in, or have gotten caught up in what is around us, rather than abiding by You who are within us. Teach us to listen to Your leading. Help us to make a clean break from that which distracts or defiles us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness is what is evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You by how we tend to the temple that we have been given. Amen. 

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

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Quick to Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV) 

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV) 

Post this at all intersections, dear friends: lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG) 

On this Memorial Day, it is a great reminder of how to operate in love, as we remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Because they gave, we are able to express our opinions, worship as we choose, and select whatever path we choose to walk. However, if we love God, and want to love people as we are called to love, this verse is a great reminder of how to go about communicating with those around us. Listening first, rather than spewing opinions or instantly judging others, is how we are called to live. There is righteous anger, but it should be in control and utilized with wisdom and grace, not acted upon in haste or revenge. Patient pursuit of understanding is far more productive than angry exchanges of insults. Through listening, we can discover common ground, and recognize the value in one another, rather than grow angry at a seeming “sacred belief” that seems to differ. Our current political climate seems to dictate ugly banter rather than patient listening and well thought out conversations. Honestly, there are very few people with whom I will even discuss anything even remotely political, as it seems far too risky, as I value friendships far more than topical discussions. However, when something is blatantly wrong, and unjust, that is where righteous anger takes a stand and acts wisely, in a manner that seeks to bring change.  Love is patient and love is kind, and as we choose to love this way, good grows and communities flourish. May we ever seek to listen to each other; being slow to speak and slow to anger, so that peace may reign and love may abound. 

May we seek listen, 

And ever be wise; 

Slow to choose to speak, 

Grace uncompromised. 

Be slow to anger, 

And when anger reigns; 

Use it to bring change, 

Rather than disdain. 

Brothers and sisters,  

May we ever choose; 

To love at all times, 

So goodness is proved. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to lay down one’s life as a sacrifice. Thank You for all those who have laid down their lives for us to enjoy the freedom we know and love as a nation. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened in love first, and have spoken in haste or been quick to grow angry. Teach us to listen in love; being slow to speak and slow to anger. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love and seek You to love the same way. Amen. 

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

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Live Purposefully

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 incredible to watch and be a part of a group of people who are all walking out their purpose. Yesterday, despite the challenges of separation, new learning, and all of the trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand with remote education and running a household (many with children of our own), there was a clear demonstration of so much good, as choosing to love people was and continues to be a clear priority. Our office manager, finance wizard, vice principal, and likely a few others, orchestrated a birthday parade for our principal. Many staff members gathered in the designated parking lot a short distance from her home to coordinate, decorate and caravan together in a parade of cars through her neighborhood. Seeing the smiling faces of fellow staff members and catching up with these dear friends, filled my heart with so much good. The look of surprise and joy on our principal’s face as the parade of vehicles kept rounding through her cul-de-sac, was fantastic. Despite the struggle of being apart and not being able to do our jobs in the way we all are accustomed to doing them, there is good that is coming out of this season, none the less. Personally, I am so grateful that these are the people who are chosen to walk out a similar purpose in this season with me. Though each of us come from different places, spaces and experiences, we are united in purpose as we seek to teach kids and love our community well. God really is able to orchestrate good and beautiful things in every season, as we earnestly seek Him and walk out the life to which we have been called. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading and continue ever moving forward in love.

 

We know that the Lord, wp-15887743558471974361042245095214.jpg

Can work ALL for good;

We need to pursue,

Live the life we should.

For we are each called,

And made with intent;

With strength and purpose,

Designed, heaven-sent.

Even in hard times,

There’s much good to see;

As we seek to serve,

Live purposefully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose, as we seek to love You and love people well. Thank You that as we move forward in these things, we see the good that You bring, even in trying times. Forgive us for our frustration with timing and circumstances. Teach us to trust Your timing – for You alone know the beginning and the end, and what is best. Show us how to love those around us well in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for purpose and for the good that You can bring in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into Him, the anointed Head of His body, the church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TPT)  

 

This is such a critical element to growing together as a body. It is not merely speaking the truth, but speaking the truth in love. There is a dramatic difference. Truth in love seeks to help, heal, correct, and make better, every situation and circumstance with ultimate good as the goal. The intent should never be to harm, but rather be to help grow in likeness to Christ. Additionally, we must be careful with our own walk, before we become concerned with the decisions of those around us. Of course, we can care, but in order to be a loving bearer of truth, we must be living out the truth we speak, daily. To speak truth anywhere, there first must be trust. Trust only comes through invested time in relationship. If we are to grow and become mature as a body of believers, we have to be willing to break down barriers, get to know and trust one another, so that we are able to grow together. As we do, speaking the truth in love becomes a “normal” practice, in the same way it does between dear friends, healthy spouses, and various other relationships that are built on trust. May we seek the Lord to grow and mature us in our trusting relationships with Him and those around us, so that we may always speak the truth in love, in the same way that He speaks to us.

 

May truth be spoken,Speak the Truth in Love

Ever wrapped in love;

With intent to grow,

Heart like God above.

For when there is trust,

There’s a heart to hear;

What will lead to good,

As love removes fear.

To grow together,

In trust and God’s good;

Let love lead in truth,

To do as we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to speak the truth in love. Jesus came and taught, loved, corrected, redirected, and showed us what it is to walk in Your way and grow together as a body. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without love or without truth; the absence of either is not the way You intended for us to grow. Teach us to trust and rely on You to show us how to build and establish relationships that are full of trust, so that there is safety to always speak the truth in love. Show us how to love those around us in word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people, ever seeking to speak the truth in love for Your glory. Amen.

 

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

 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Love Each Other

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

Delightfully loved ones, if He loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes His permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in Him, and His love is brought to its full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, TPT)

 

Because we are loved, we too, are called to love one another. Though no one has seen God face-to-face, each time we are met with His love through others, we catch glimpses of His heart for us. God calls us to love one another so that His love may be made known to those around us. When we choose to love, we are allowing God’s love to be made complete in us and through us, exactly as He intended. May we love others as we are loved by God, and allow His love to be brought to its full expression in us.

As for Mom, I know she is feeling His love for her as well. The other day when I called, she was surrounded by some of her dearest friends, who were over for a visit. June, her bestie, sent a text to my sister and me, and it included the photo I am including. The sheer joy on Mom’s face makes the love that she is receiving, evident. Yes, there will be adjusting to a new space and new schedule, but the beauty of being back in her own community far outweighs any challenge presented by the new.

 

We all are well loved, wp-15821165148995020299889094046902.jpg

By the Lord on high;

Just as He loves us,

We too, must supply.

Supply well His grace,

As we choose to love;

Let Him work through us,

In Him, there’s enough.

Enough to reach out,

And love anyway;

To help, extend hope,

Show His heart each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You supply us with all that we need to love as You love us. Thank You that You call and equip us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be led in all things and at all times by Your unfailing love. Show us how to love those around us in every situation and circumstance, according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You have to offer so that we can go forth and love like You. 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

Love Because…

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – (1 John 4:11, NIV) 

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. – (1 John 4:11, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. – (1 John 4:11, MSG)

 

So far, this weekend has been exactly what Mark and I both needed. It is the first weekend in months that we have not had plans nor an agenda. Yesterday turned into a wonderful day of quality time catching up with friends. After my love and I took care of some errand and returned home, I was able to escape and get mani/pedis with my best friend. Between us, our work schedules have kept us from spending the time together that we would most enjoy, so an afternoon together was a great way to catch up. In the evening, Mark and I met up with one of my dearest friends from childhood (our bonus sister), along with her husband and son, and spent a wonderful evening together, sharing life and enjoying each other’s company. The love that God gives us to love one another was made evident throughout the day in each interaction. His love runs deep, and it is not limited by how often we see one another. His goodness and grace are abundant, and relationships long ago established, remain full of love by His grace. May we ever recognize the depth of love that God has for us, and extend the same to those with whom we interact.

 

May the love of God, Love Because

Move our hearts and minds;

To love as we’re loved,

With grace, choose be kind.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

His heart is made known,

As good is outpoured.

So, let us choose love,

Just as God loves us;

Grace to each other,

Through hope we express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the depth and breadth of Your love that envelops us and empowers us to love. Thank You for the gift of friendships that exemplify the greatness of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that You place Your love for people within us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen not to extend all that You have given us to others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would 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 the incredible love that You give so that we can turn and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39