Together in Peace

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, NIV)

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

Now, this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate affectionate love, sympathy, and kindness toward other believers. Let humility describe who you are as you dearly love one another. – (1 Peter 3:8, TPT)

Imagine what our nation would be like if we all attempted to live this way. It has to start small, and then spread outward. I love that the directive is not simply given and then just dropped. There is a clear explanation of how to make it happen. To live together in peace, we must first try to understand each other. As we actively seek to do so, we are loving each other as sisters and brothers. Additionally, kindness and humility break down barriers and remove walls that keep harmony out. Though it is a seemingly monumental task, if we begin in our own homes, our workspaces, and as we engage in our communities, we are contributing to peace, rather than dissent. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and perseverance to seek to understand one another in love, with kindness and humility, so that we may love as was intended and live in harmony with one another.

We’re all called to peace,

The result of love;

True understanding,

That’s graced from above.

When we are humble,

And choose to be kind;

Anger is diffused,

And love is aligned.

Lord, help us to seek,

To love each other;

Bring peace among us,

As sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in peace with one another. Thank You that You do not simply call or command it, but rather You give us clear and practical ways to bring harmony into our communities. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate out of love. Teach us how to ever seek to understand, so that we may humbly extend kindness and treat all as beloved sisters and brothers. Show us how to love one another well, as clearly You created us for community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love to live in peace with each other. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Trust in Faithfulness

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – (Psalm 33:4, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. – (Psalm 33:4, ERV)

For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises, His word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right. – (Psalm 33:4, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a shining example of the faithfulness of God. As teachers across the state went live for day one, I imagine many shared the crazy roller coaster that carried us through ups and downs, highs and lows, and unexpected turns as we navigated the new. After several weeks of preparing, and the last-minute checking prior to activating everything to go live according to schedule, all seemed to be ready and running according to plan. Shortly after activating my webpages, I received a panicked email from one of my students who was unable to access her account. I followed protocol and forwarded her information to our tech guy who is wonderful about resetting passwords, and returned a message to her to let her know that she should be ready to access everything, shortly. There were more emails to answer and issues to trouble-shoot, yet all seemed to be going well. Then, I received a very kind email from the father of one of my fantastic students, letting me know that she was struggling to access the assignments on Canvas. I shifted gears and accessed the site, wracking my brain to discover why the assignment would not be visible to scholars. Not two minutes after I had sent a message to tech support, inquiring what minute detail I might be missing, did I discover the mystery click that had been missed. Though every page, assignment and task had been published, if the top “unit” bar did not have the circle clicked, assignments that appear below it are inaccessible. Who knew? Anyway, problem solved, Thank You Jesus, and I was able to email the father back and thank him for his help as I learn this new technology, and for his grace, as his kindness was appreciated more than words can express. Though my Zoom office hours were attended by only a few, it was so good to see and hear my kiddos, and I am encouraged that Thursday’s will go far better. The day flew by, far more quickly than days in the previous several weeks, especially now that there is ongoing interaction with students and families again. Though it is not the same as in the classroom, I am grateful for a way to make this work during this season of time away from one another. Human connection is essential in the classroom before learning can take place, and we now have tools to reconnect and engage, so that all of us can learn and grow together. Though things did not go as I anticipated, it was still a good day. God is faithful and we are moving forward in our present season, and I can already see the good that is coming.

 

The word of the Lord,wp-15874736571019022579100896925719.jpg

Is right and is true;

He’s faithful always,

His grace sees us through.

Through uncertain times,

Ever He is near;

To help and give hope,

And take away fear.

For God is faithful,

Through everything;

Our strength to press on,

And reason to sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain with us; always. Thank You that You equip and strengthen us to do difficult things. Forgive us for our frustrations and doubts when we cannot see how things could possibly work out. Teach us to trust You more, for You are far greater than any situation or circumstance that could ever come our way. Show us how to persevere, even when things don’t make sense. Help us to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may grow and thrive in every season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the truth of Your word, as You are faithful forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Choose to Not Argue

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – (2 Timothy 2:23, NIV)

As a servant of the Lord, you must not argue. You must be kind to everyone. You must be a good teacher, and you must be patient. – (2 Timothy 2:23, ERV)

For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. – (2 Timothy 2:24, TPT)

 

This verse is a practical application verse for teachers everywhere, and a great reminder to start off the week. We cannot engage in arguments, or all will be lost. Kindness to everyone opens doors, ears, and hearts. When kids feel cared for, they are more likely to allow us to come alongside them and help guide them in new learning. All of this requires patience. Though in the forefront of my mind for teaching, these principles also apply in parenting, friendships, and every sort of familial relationship as well. Kindness and patience, willingness to help teach or guide in what is true, and choosing to not engage in arguments helps strengthen bonds and increase trust. May we ever depend on the Lord and His strength to help us walk out our days in this very way.

 

To truly serve God, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

And walk in His will;

We will need kindness,

The sort Christ instills.

Choose to not argue,

Be patient, always;

Help others see truth,

As we extend grace.

May goodness and light,

Flood all that we do;

So God’s love is known,

And His word shown true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and remind us of the things that matter most. Thank You that we are called to kindness and love, with patience and endurance as we seek to honor You with our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have senselessly argued with those around us, or have neglected to extend kindness or patience of goodness, according to Your plan placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn how to best avoid arguments and loving with kindness and patience as we come alongside each other. 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 turn in trust to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

Speak With Care

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)

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. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Free to Love and Serve

For dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. – (Galatians 5:13, TLB)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do to destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil the gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

We are no longer bound by Levitical law, but rather we have been set free by the sacrifice of Christ, to choose to follow Him. A life in Christ is not about living according to the letter of the laws of rituals, but instead it is all about opting to engage in a life of love. If our priority is choosing to love God and love people, we will use our freedom well and do what is pleasing before God. When we elect to engage in sin, we grieve the heart of God and abuse the freedom that was granted in love. May we ever seek to love the Lord and those He places in our path, and trust Him to help us lead a life that honors Him.

 

Brothers and sisters,Generous Giving

We each have been called;

To live in freedom,

By grace, not by law.

The freedom we have,

Is not meant for sin;

But rather to love,

And let others in.

In our gift to choose,

May we opt to serve;

Love as we are loved,

So hope can be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom we have in You. Thank You that it is not freedom to do wrong, but rather to make the choice to follow You and live a life of love because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Forgive us for abusing our freedom and not allowing Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love in all things. Help us to love and serve one another as Jesus loved and served. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve as You have shown us what it is to love and serve. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Finding Wisdom

The wise store up knowledge as a safeguard, but the meaningless chatter of fools means that chaos is near. – (Proverbs 10:14, VOICE)

The wise accumulate knowledge – a true treasure; know-it-alls talk too much – a sheer waste. – (Proverbs 10:14, MSG)

Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster. – (Proverbs 10:14, NLT)

 

Wisdom is found when we quietly listen, rather than when we constantly contribute, only to hear the sound of our own voice. Words bear weight when they are carefully chosen and used purposefully. The wisest people I’ve known, have been those who enter a situation, and in silence, observe first, and do not engage in conversation until they have taken it all in. They tend to read the room, and discover direction as to how to best engage with those around them, rather than rushing in and setting off-kilter a dynamic that was already in place. True wisdom comes from God, as we choose to seek Him and listen in silence. When we take the time to quiet our hearts, we are far better able to hear from Him. May we seek and treasure wisdom from God, and learn to listen well.

 

Lord, help us listen,Refreshment Through Repentance

Seek knowledge from You;

May our hearts treasure,

The light of Your truth.

Keep us from speaking,

When we’re meant to hear;

Help us to listen,

In silence, draw near.

For wisdom is gained,

As we choose pursue;

Knowledge, not limelight,

So we reflect You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom is gained as we seek knowledge and understanding. Thank You that You grow our insight as we ask for clarity from You. Forgive us for the times that talked when we were meant to listen. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek to understand by listening first, as You reveal to us what You want us to know. Help us to love those around us well, as we seek to understand first, even when they are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to store up knowledge and grow in wisdom, so that we might better reflect Your heart to the world. Amen.

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

Surely 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

No Need to Argue

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – (2 Timothy 2:23)

 

Rather than engage in trivial arguments or debates, we are called to be kind and gentle, patient and courteous, and speak the truth always. This requires us to listen before we speak, and to use wisely the words we choose allow to escape our lips. Let truth be told, but through the lens of love that draws others in so that they may want to hear what we have to say. Not engaging in arguments is just one example of how we can align our living with what we profess to be true. Respectful and honest discussion is good and beneficial, but anything that produces fuel to fight, is not the sort of conversation that we are called to carry out. May we choose our words wisely, ever speaking the truth in love in a way that others may see Christ in us, and desire to pursue that which we already have.

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments, as they produce nothing productive for Your kingdom. Thank You that You instead call us to be gentle and kind, patient and courteous, as we share the truth through mutual respect and care for one another. Forgive us for engaging in quarrels or foolish arguments, and help us to trust You more, so that we would seek to listen first, before we ever choose to open our mouths to speak. Lead us to love others with words and actions that bring light and life, just as You illuminate our darkness and grant us eternal hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to not engage in foolish arguments, but rather invest in conversations that create opportunities for the truth to be made known. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Braving the Battles Before Us

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. – (2 Corinthians 10:3)

 

When we live in the world, it is a struggle to remember that we do not need to wage war by the world’s rules of engagement. As followers of Christ, we are held to a higher standard, and He calls us to something more. In Him, we have to hope and trust, and walk out our faith, rather than respond with a knee-jerk reaction in every challenging situation. As we learn to depend on Him, and listen for His voice, even when it feels as if an all-out assault is being unleashed, we can walk confidently in Christ, as He is our anchor in the storm and our Strong Tower to whom we can safely run. Ultimately, no matter what transpires in the moment, we know who wins in the end. Our hope goes beyond today, as our trust remains assured for our eternity. May we rise up in faith and fight the good fight according to God’s good and perfect will. Let not the world’s way of waging war win us over, but rather help it compel us to cling to Christ all the more.

 

Though we’re in the world,Dispelling Discouragement

may we not engage;

in the ugliness,

from acted out rage.

Rather, let us seek,

to hope and to trust;

to listen to Christ,

and do as we must.

The fight is not ours,

when we are the Lord’s;

He’s our Defender,

all grace He affords.

Let not emotions,

rule how we react;

instead seek Jesus,

defense from attack.

Always remember,

no matter what comes;

this is just right now,

our hope’s in the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we live in the world, we do not need to wage war as the world does. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your thoughts, higher than our thoughts. Thank You that as we seek You, You reveal Your very best for us, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for reacting in the heat of the moment, rather than seeking You and Your very best for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise up in faith and face adversity in Your strength, rather than our own. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and allow You to lead us through the battles before us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16