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,

413999ed-2061-46e4-9b6c-565cd74dcf5d5593075506363422581.jpg

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

Stepping Out of the Boat

“Lord if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29)

 

So often, the story of when Jesus walked on water seems to highlight how Peter began to sink as he took his eyes off Christ. However, I find it quite remarkable that Peter was the only one to recognize and respond so radically to the Lord, that he asked Him if he could come to Him. Peter did not want to wait for Jesus to reach the boat, he wanted to be where Jesus was. His exuberance led to an experience that Peter would likely never forget. Not only had he walked on water towards Jesus, but when he allowed his gaze to avert from Jesus to that which was surrounding him and began to sink, Jesus did not let Peter go under. He took his hand and rescued him. Peter’s experience was a powerful demonstration of how important it is to fix our eyes securely on Christ, yet if we discover we have allowed our focus to shift and call out to Him, He will be our help and our hope.

 

When we hear His call, are we willing to get out of the boat? If we fix our eyes on Him, we are able to do surpassingly more that we ever thought possible. On the other hand, if we avert our eyes to the challenges and obstacles that stand in our way, we become overwhelmed and feel defeated; ready to jump back in the boat, despite our distance from the directed destination. When our eyes engage with the obstacles, we can call on Christ to help us refocus. He is our Source of safety, and the One who will lead us where we are meant to go.

 

When wind and waves come,Stepping Out of the Boat

and violent the sea;

Christ calls us by name,

says, “Come unto Me.”

Though scary the step,

from idle in boat;

with eyes fixed on Him,

we will stay afloat.

If we look away,

and start to go down;

His presence is there,

His faithfulness found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present and faithful to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You call us to get out of our spaces of security and comfort, and trust You to walk into the new and remarkable that You have for us. Thank You that it is always beyond what we could ever even imagine we could carry out on our own, yet in You, mountains are moved and miracles happen. Forgive us for shifting our gaze from You to that which gets in our way from accomplishing that which You are asking, and help us to continue to call on You to be our Help and our Hope in all things and at all times. May we fix our eyes securely on You, and love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know the security found in You alone, as lives are changed and made new. Be glorified in everything that we say and do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – I Peter 2:19

 

 

 

 

 

Running Our Own Race

Not merely observers,

image by Debbie McDaniel

image by Debbie McDaniel

we are each called to race.

Not in a simple sprint,

but for a lifelong pace.

Train not to win a prize,

of temporary things;

but rather seek His face,

for what eternal brings.

To discipline ourselves,

requires our whole heart,

be engaged with the One,

who knows our end and start.

He asks us to follow,

His personal race plan;

designed by Him for us,

to be bold and to stand.

The prize will never fade,

nor taken back from thee.

We can trust His promises,

into eternity.

(Responding to I Corinthians 9:24-27)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all called to be participants in this “race” called life, and none are meant to be mere observers.  Thank You that You have designed an individual “race plan” for each of us, and our job is to run our own race – not our neighbor’s race.  Thank You that we are each designed with different gifts, talents and strengths that are given by You to be used for Your glory.  Forgive us for taking our eyes off the only prize that matters – our eternity with You.  Teach us to live and love each day as if it were our last, so that each day we are fully engaged and invested in You and in all that we do.  May many come to know You by our love today, so that they too may enter into an eternal race plan.  Amen.

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