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

Working Everything for Good

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)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

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God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Called His Own

Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. – (Psalm 100:3, NIV)

Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to Him. We are His people, the sheep He takes care of. – (Psalm 100:3, ERV)

Know this: the Eternal One Himself is the True God. He is the One who made us; we have not made ourselves; we are His people, like sheep grazing in His fields. – (Psalm 100:3, VOICE)

 

As I continue along with the reading plan for the twenty-one days of fasting and prayer that my church is participating in, today’s scripture is Psalm 100. It is a relatively short psalm, yet the gist of the passage is about praising God for who He is. Verse three stood out to me as a great reminder to remember that it is He who made us, and we are His. A shepherd not only watches his/her sheep, but they fend off predators, care for the sick or wounded, know each by name, feed them, and will search tirelessly for one of them if they wander off. God, who created us and knows us far more intimately than by name, goes exceedingly above and beyond the care of a shepherd. He loves us with an everlasting love, as He gave His only Son so that we would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. The Lord hears our every prayer, petition and praise, and moves on our behalf, even when we are unaware. May we know that the Lord is God, who made us and calls us His own, and ever give Him praise as His people.

 

The Lord is our God, Our Help and Defense

Most worthy of praise;

May we give Him thanks,

For all of our days.

He hears each request,

And knows us by name;

He loves and He heals,

Each of us, He’ll claim.

The Lord is so good,

And His love, endures;

Forever, always,

In Him, hope’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God who made us and calls us Your own. Thank You that we are Your people whom You watch over and care for. Forgive us for forgetting how intimately You know and love each one of us, and how much each detail matters. Teach us to trust and praise You more, as You are our Source and Strength, and worthy of all trust and praise forever. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us as Your own forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You. – Psalm 84:12

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.

 

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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

Desires Fulfilled Through Delight in Him

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and He will provide for you what you desire most. – (Psalm 37:4, TPT)

 

The caveat to this verse is to be mindful of the first half, prior to fixating on the second. It is only when we delight in the Lord and take pleasure in that which pleases Him, that our heart’s desires transpire, as they are aligned with His good and perfect will for us. This is a great reminder on days that life doesn’t seem to go our way, as one day does not define our eternity. Yesterday, I had one of those days that required me to dig deep and choose to delight in God, as various circumstances sprinkled throughout my day, challenged my heart. God is faithful, and He provided good in the midst of the trying. Sweet reminders of His goodness and faithfulness were made evident through the people He has placed around me. Lovely colleagues and sweet students were mingled in between a migraine and a handful of students who were struggling behaviorally. At last, once the school day was done, my love and I were able to load the car and begin our journey to mom in Oregon. Traffic was terrible, yet I was able to take joy in the beauty along the way, and behold the blessing of the company I was keeping. What I desired most was to see Mom, and by 9:00 pm, we arrived and were greeted with such joy, my heart could hardly contain it. God is so good, and He blesses our hearts as we earnestly seek Him.

 

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In Him, seek true joy;

Ever He’s faithful,

Blessings He employs.

As we seek the Lord,

Our hearts shall align;

With His pleasing will,

His goodness we find.

For all things give thanks,

Each day we draw breath;

The Lord is so good,

By grace we are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You and seek to find joy in You, we discover the desires of our heart are met in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the obstacles that attempt to steal our joy. Teach us to recognize the blessings, even in the trials; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take delight in You and give Your praise for the blessings You pour upon us. 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

Choose Walk In Love

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – (John 13:34, NIV)

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I have loved you. – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same way. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

We are called and commanded to love one another. In the same way that Jesus loved everyone around Him, we are called to do the same. Valentine’s Day is a holiday that those in love, love, and those who are not, often loathe it. To me, today is a great reminder to love others well. Spouse, children, friends, family, strangers – no matter who it is, we are called to choose love and do so well. Though we may struggle with some, we still have the obligation to choose to act/speak in love. Jesus, even as He was hanging on the cross, He loved. He asked for His killers to be forgiven, and made sure His friends would take care of His mother. Everything about His life was an act of love. May we think of God’s perfect love as we go about our day, and choose to love those we encounter in the same way.

 

We all have been called,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To choose walk in love;

Our words and our deeds,

Like the Lord’s above.

To choose to invest,

In those who surround;

To love as we’re loved,

So grace may abound.

Embrace everyone,

With words and with deeds;

Let His love be shown,

As His kindness leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible love for us all. Thank You that You call and command us to love others as we are loved by You. Thank You that this is something that You strengthen and equip us to do as we depend on You to lead. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, despite the love that You lavish on us. Teach us to trust and depend on You to show us how to love best when love is difficult to find. Lead us to love those around us in ways that point people to the True Source of love forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love others best. Amen.

 

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

 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18

Refreshing Reign

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. – (Joel 2:23, NIV)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

 

This verse is a great reminder of not only the faithfulness of God, but of the heart we ought to have for His goodness. Autumn rains represent a refreshing for dry and weary land. God is faithful to do the same for us and in us, as He brings refreshment when we are weary and abundance where we are lacking. I am especially encouraged by this today, as yesterday was an extraordinarily long day, and discover I am feeling a bit weary as my fingers falter in finding keys as I type. He is faithful, and I know He will provide the refreshment needed to navigate today. May we ever rejoice in the Lord and His faithfulness, for He sends us refreshing rain in due season.

 

When weary and dry, No Matter What Comes

Refreshment shall come;

Our God is faithful,

As shown by His Son.

Let us give Him praise,

Choose ever rejoice;

For He sends His rain,

As we lift our voice.

All thanks be to God,

Who is ever near;

Brings His refreshing,

Makes His goodness clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that sends refreshing rain down upon us to lift us up when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for forgetting where our strength truly lies. Teach us to trust and rejoice in You; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends refreshment and strength in dry and weary spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the remarkable faithfulness found as Your pour out Your refreshment upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Assured to Approach

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plans. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

This verse is a great reminder of how God is our loving Father. Just as a parent listens and cares about what we say, the words are only given weight if they are for good and in agreement with what the parent knows is best. God, who is the ultimate Father, knows the potential outcome before we begin. His heart is for our good, and He leads and guides us in the direction that ultimately leads to His glory. That being said, we have a free will, and He will not control us like robots. He allows us to make our own decisions, yet His blessing is present when we pursue things according to His will. Our Heavenly Father knows best, and when we approach Him with a heart that is after His, He hears and leads us in the way we are meant to go. God is good and He wants good for us. May we ever approach God with confidence, trusting that He hears us as our heart is set to walk in His will.

 

We have a Father, Be strong and courageous

Who knows our heart best;

He listens to us,

And provides us rest.

Whatever we ask,

That follows His will;

He hears and He helps,

By grace He fulfills.

So, seek the Lord’s heart,

And ask all of Him;

He hears and He loves,

Granting hope within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our loving Father who knows what is best for us; always. Thank You that we can come to You and ask of You, anything that aligns with Your will and be heard. Forgive us for asking things out of selfish ambition or for not asking when our intent is motivated by love, as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more and help us to ever be motivated to do all things in love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that clearly conveys Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You confidently, trusting that You will hear our heart in all things as we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12

Rejoice in the Rain

Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come… – (Joel 2:23, NLT)

Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

…Shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness… – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

 

It is always a bit bittersweet when the first rains of fall arrive. We have had a long and lovely summer, and I am an outdoor enthusiast. Because the Pacific Northwest is notorious for wet and rainy weather, I cannot help but feel a tug of loss when the rain arrives, as I know that the sweet summer days have come to a close. This verse in Joel is a great reminder for me to celebrate the rain with gratitude, as it has also been a terrible fire season for much of the region. The rain has already helped clear the air of the smoke that hung heavy, and I imagine it will provide much needed aid in ending the fires that have been raging across our corner of the country. In every season there is reason to rejoice in the faithfulness of God, and autumn rains and their cleansing nature are certainly one of them. May we rise up with joy and give thanks to God, for He is faithful in every season, and the autumn rains are another reminder of how He demonstrates His faithfulness to us.

 

Rejoice in the rain, No Matter What Comes

That God sends our way;

With joy, give Him thanks,

For each brand-new day.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Comes in autumn rain;

It washes things clean,

Makes all new again.

And where there’s been drought,

He brings to an end;

As the Lord in love,

His rain He does send.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in each new season. Thank You for the autumn rains that bring refreshing, cleansing and water that is much needed for so many. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for Your provision. Teach us to see new seasons through Your eyes, so that we would recognize the blessing and faithfulness that You are bestowing upon us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that showers them with blessings to end the drought in their thirsty hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in Your faithful provision of the autumn rains, and recognize the refreshment and healing that they provide. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23