Purposeful Words

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)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG)

What we say matters. When we are negative or use ugly words, we are not building anyone up, and in reality, we are bringing ourselves and those around us down. It is better to say nothing than to be toxic with our words. We are called to build each other up and help strengthen them. Our words matter, and it is an intentional decision to be kind and encouraging or to remain quiet. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us so that our words are a gift that build others up and are beneficial to the hearers.

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your words. Thank You that You, lead, encourage, guide, and reside within us, and use Your words to fill our hearts with Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have used words to hurt, cut down, or complain, rather than to build up. Teach us to speak with grace and kindness, and to be silent when we cannot. Show us how to love those around us with our words in ways that encourage, strengthen and build up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our words as You intended, to encourage and build others up. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Be Light

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

You are that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illuminate creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. – (Matthew 5:16, VOICE)

What we do and say matters. When we choose to do all things in love, we are living out the light the Christ has placed within us. As we live and love well, the heart of Jesus is made known and His love is clearly shown. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that His heart may be made evident through all that we say and do.

The light within us,

Has been made to shine;

So all that we do,

Points to the Divine.

Every good deed,

Should point back to God;

So others may see,

His love goes beyond.

Beyond what we know,

Abundance exceeds;

Imagination,

In Him we are free.

So, choose shine His light,

With each word and deed;

Make His goodness known,

For His love sets free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring Your light into the world. Thank You that as we follow after You and depend on You, You provide opportunities for us to do things that make Your love evident. Forgive us for the things we have said and done that have hidden Your light where it was meant to shine. Show us how to live out Your love in all that we say and do. Teach us to love those around us with Your radiant light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be Your light wherever we go. Amen.

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

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14

Unknown Open Doors

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

“…Pray to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets. You have never heard these things before.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, ERV)

“Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Though this passage is a message that God gave to Jeremiah while he was shackled and guarded in captivity, the message remains true for us, no matter our circumstances. God is the God of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Though Jeremiah and his people were in a dismal situation, God spoke promises of what was yet to come. His plans and purposes for the people did not end in captivity, but rather in being rebuilt and free. In the same way, God has a plan and purpose for us. No matter what we have been through, are going through, or face in the future, God will grant us wisdom and understanding to navigate each step, and to walk forward into the hope He has for us all. May we ever call on the Lord to lead us well, for He is faithful to teach us and reveal to us that which we need to know to keep moving forward into all that is yet to come.

Choose call on the Lord,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

He’s faithful to tell;

The wonderful things,

That help us live well.

God in His wisdom,

Reveals unto us;

Unsearchable things,

He hears our requests.

No matter what is,

In Christ, there is more;

Through love He reveals,

Unknown open doors.

In struggle, seek Him,

In strength, give Him praise;

Pursue His wisdom,

To walk out each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You reveal new wisdom and insight that grant us hope and equip us for all that comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our present circumstances to limit our faith. Teach us to turn to You and pray, for You are faithful to show us what we need to know to keep moving forward in the direction You have called us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust You to give us wisdom and insight as to how to continue in the direction You have called us. Amen.

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

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

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

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Doing Right Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, RSV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. As God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, TPT)

You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. Live as those who are free and not as those who use their freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as God’s servants. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, VOICE)

The old adage, “actions speak louder than words” holds true, and is affirmed in this passage. When we live right and pursue a life of following God’s will, foolishness is silenced, and love wins. As followers of Christ, we are called to freely choose to live and love like Christ. Jesus modeled what it is to love deeply, and His ongoing example is what silenced the scoffers and nay-sayers of the times. He did not repay evil for evil, but rather extended mercy and grace and made love and light visible for all who were near. We have the freedom to choose how to live. It is up to us to choose well. Our charge is to live in the light, which eliminates darkness and illuminates love. May we ever seek to serve and honor God with our every word and deed, and may foolish ignorance be silenced as love and grace are granted to all.

By doing what’s right,

And walking in grace;

Ugly ignorance,

By love is replaced.

Though we all are free,

May we wisely choose;

To serve only God,

Let Him shape our views.

It’s only through love,

And choosing to serve;

That others see Christ,

Goodness is preserved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that living and loving freely in Your goodness and grace is what demonstrates the good that comes from seeking Your face. Forgive us for using our freedom of choice to misrepresent or be destructive with voice. Teach us to follow after You and Your heart for others in everything we do. Show us how to love those around us with all that we do as we seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what is right and love with our every word and deed. Amen.

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

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18

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

Clear the Temple

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” He said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer’, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.” – (Matthew 21:12-13, NIV)

Jesus went into the Temple area. He threw out all those who were selling and buying things there. He turned the tables that belonged to those who were exchanging different kinds of money. And He turned over benches of those who were selling doves. Jesus said to them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer’. But you are changing it into a ‘hiding place for thieves.” – (Matthew 21:12-13, ERV)

 

My focus this week is to take a deeper look at the series of events that took place leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. On the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus left Bethany, cursed a fig tree, cleansed the temple, healed and taught in the temple (as God intended), left the city, and returned back to Bethany where He stayed the night. The portion of scripture that stood out to me, was the passage where Jesus, in His righteousness, cleared out of the temple, that which did not belong. He did not just clear out what did not belong, but went on and loved, touched, taught and healed, according to what did belong in His Temple. Jesus did not simply say how things needed to be, but rather He modeled it through every aspect of His life. The way that Jesus cleansed the temple demonstrated His authority and His passion for His Father’s house, and the way that He restored the space to what it was intended through His loving people well, reminds us of the kindness of God. May we take time this week to clear the temple of our hearts and rid ourselves of anything that does not belong, and allow the Lord to restore us with His loving kindness and grace that reaches out and loves as He so passionately loves each of us.

 

Within all our hearts, Restore to Me the Joy

There’s things to be cleared;

Misguided beliefs,

Irrational fears.

We have a Savior,

In love, who comes near;

He’ll wash away waste,

Make our value clear.

As we know our worth,

We love differently;

No longer hindered,

Able to be free.

Free to love greatly,

As God first loved us;

Love with abandon,

Just like our Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose the difficult road because of Your great love for us. Thank You that You cleared the temple of what did not belong, and replaced it with what did. Forgive us for allowing anything into the temple of our hearts that does not belong. Show us how to clear the chaos and crud that does not align with Your design, and teach us to seek You to fill our hearts with things of You. Lead us to love those around us in the same way that You love – lavishly, tangibly, and without qualifications. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clear the temple within, and praise You for the incredible sacrifice You made on our behalf. Amen

 

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

 

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – Mark 11:15-16

Willing Hearts and Hands

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

 

God is love. He is faithful to show His unfailing love to all who choose to love Him and seek to keep His commands. If we are loving God and loving people, we are actively and intentionally obeying all that He asks. Our decision to do so does not mean that we will have a life free from trial or pain, but it does mean that we will have the faithful love of the eternal God for now and in all of life that is yet to come. May we ever remember that the Lord is our God whom we can trust, as He keeps His word and shows love and kindness to all who love and obey Him.

 

The Lord is our God,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

In whom we can trust;

His promise to love,

Forever for us.

All who choose to love,

And obey as asked;

Know unfailing love,

That will always last.

So, keep His commands,

For they’re about love;

Love God and people,

His grace is enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You that You show love and kindness to all who seek You and obey what You ask. Thank You that Your presence is promised for all time. Forgive us for the times that we are less than loving or do not recognize Your nearness. Please remind our hearts of Your nearness and fill us with Your love for those around us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey Your leading with willing hearts and hands. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Forgive One Another

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. – (Matthew 6:14-15, ERV)

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. – (Matthew 6:14-15, MSG)

 

As an educator, a willingness to forgive is a necessity for longevity in this field. Kids, particularly in middle school, are attempting to figure out who they are and what their place is in the world. Part of the process often includes foolishness that creates a disruption or distraction in the classroom. By the end of the day, I often shake my head and take a deep breath, grateful that every day provides the opportunity for a new start. I have to intentionally choose to let go of my frustrations and irritations, and reset to begin anew for each new class, every day. No, it does not always come easy, and often I have to forgive more than once for the same offense in my own heart, but as I do, it makes room for improvement in areas of struggle. Just as kids mess up and disrupt, I too, fall short. In the same way that grace and forgiveness are extended to them, I am grateful to be given likewise by God. May we ever choose to receive and extend forgiveness and grace freely; for God so loved that He gave, so that we would know and understand forgiveness for all.

 

Forgiveness is free, Forgive One Another

Yet comes at a cost;

Rights to bitterness,

With grace, are all lost.

For as we forgive,

The same’s done for us;

God’s grace upon grace,

He answers requests.

So, let us go forth,

And love as we’re loved;

Promote perfect peace,

Like God up above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us so that we might forgive one another. Thank You that You give us strength and grace to forgive others when our hearts want to hold onto offenses. Forgive us for the times that we have circled back around to an offense that has already been forgiven. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can forgive and move forward with wisdom and grace. Show us how to love as You do, extending forgiveness and grace in spaces where it is the most difficult to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the greatness of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we forgive others in the same way that we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. – Romans 4:7

Every New Step

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NIV)

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV)

For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. – (Philippians 4:13, TLB)

 

Do you ever wake at the start of the week and wonder how you will get from the now to the close of the week? It is not a lack of faith thing, nor a whoa is me situation, but rather a recognition of the demands that lie before me, and the need for Christ to be present every step of the way. The week ahead is like that for me, particularly as I step into the new and unknown. I am excited and eager, yet uncertain of how all will unfold. God is good, as He grants me the strength to do the He is leading me to, and He makes plain the path that He has prepared in advance for me to walk. Today, I am trusting His strength for each next step as I navigate the new in this season.

Mom understands this far better than most, as she continues to trust in Christ and His strength each new day for every new step that she is to take on this road of healing and recovery. Each week, she is trying a bit more as she gets out of the house and engages in social activities with my sister and brother-in-love. More and more, there is a return to self, as Christ’s strength continues to grow and be made known in Mom.

 

The strength of the Lord, Strong Heart

Is present and free;

For all who choose seek,

He gives what we need.

All that the Lord asks,

We’re equipped to do;

His power and grace,

Ever see us through.

So, trust in the Lord,

Answer what He asks;

You’ll find you’ve the strength,

For every task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the strength and power to do all that You call us to do. Thank You that You have a perfect plan and purpose for each of us. Forgive us for our moments of being a bit overwhelmed by all that we see that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to go before us and walk beside us, every step of the way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and empower each to do all that is asked of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your power and strength to supply all that we need for each step we are meant to take of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23