To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

Let Us Listen First

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

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

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

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

Lord, help us to seek,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To listen and learn;

Use our ears and heart,

For gracious return.

Let not our voices,

Respond without thought;

Help us understand,

And love as we ought.

For if truth be told,

Wisdom can be found;

In hearts that listen,

As Your grace abounds.

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

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

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

Pray for ALL People

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men(people) with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, TPT)

This is certainly a season that being reminded of the importance to pray for our nation, state, and local leaders is imperative. As our nation waits in anticipation, our prayers for our leaders, impending leaders, and one another, is essential. More than anything, our prayers need to be for peace and pure hearts. No matter the outcome, God is greater than our circumstances. Our ability to love one another remains, regardless of who sits in a leadership position. We need those who lead to do so with wisdom, grace, and kindness toward all people, and we need to celebrate and lift each other up, despite our differences. I know not what the future holds, but I do know to Whom I will ultimately look for guidance, grace and peace. My ability to be loving and kind is not determined by the government nor those in positions of authority. Finally, may we all pray for leaders everywhere, and for each other, so that we may live tranquil lives with the freedom to worship and be inspired with pure hearts and pure motives.

O Lord, help us pray,

For all those who lead;

Grant them Your wisdom,

And bring us Your peace.

Show us Your mercy,

Lead us by Your grace;

Make goodness present,

Throughout all our days.

Teach us to trust You,

For all’s in Your hands;

Teach us to worship,

As You heal our land.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority in our land. Thank You that despite what we see, You have a plan and a purpose in all things. Thank You that You can use even the worst of circumstances to bring Your good. Forgive us for allowing what we see to determine whether or not we pray and lift others up. Remind us anew to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority. Show us how to love and lift others up, especially in this season of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our Prince of Peace who loves without limits and holds us all in Your hands. Be glorified O God, as we lift leaders up and pray for Your will to be done. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

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

Align Our Hearts and Minds

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideas and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Just because something is popular or “trending”, does not mean it is right. Our charge is to seek God and allow Him to transform and renew our minds. God’s good, perfect and pleasing will revolves around loving Him and loving those around us. If what we do and say is not motivated by love, it is not what He intended. However, if the way that our mind is being transformed is to love more deeply and walk more justly, we are walking in His will. My hope is to live a beautiful life that is pleasing to God. It does not mean it will be an easy life, however, it will be one full of love. May we ever seek the Lord to transform us from the inside out, so that we will live the life that He intended. 

Do not live the life, 

Of somebody else; 

Each have a purpose, 

To live out ourselves. 

Give God full access, 

To change and renew; 

So we do His will, 

Unto Him, live true. 

May we be transformed, 

In heart and in mind; 

So we live a life, 

That’s loving and kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and trust our lives in Your hands, You transform and renew us to walk in Your good and pleasing will. Forgive us for the times that we have simply gone with what the majority think, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to seek, trust, and depend on You to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good, perfect and pleasing will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform and renew us to align our hearts and minds with Yours. Amen. 

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Speak Little and Calmly Listen

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. – (Proverbs 17:27, NIV) 

The one who knows much says little; an understanding person remains calm. – (Proverbs 17:27, MSG) 

Those with knowledge know when to be quiet, and those with understanding know how to remain calm. – (Proverbs 17:27, VOICE) 

Right now, I know that there is much that I do not know. In this space of ignorance, I am meant to read, listen and learn, and use words with restraint. The more that I learn, the more that I must remain calm and process the insight and understanding that I gain. It is only through difficult self-reflection and true commitment to change, that I will grow in understanding of how I can best use words wisely. Because every fiber of my being understands and desires to love as I am called to love, I will say little and calmly listen to much. God calls us to listen and learn and to calmly speak with wisdom. If we truly want to love, we must listen and learn first. May we seek the Lord for wisdom and understanding, as we quietly pursue knowledge to truly see how to love best. 

May we seek listen, 

In quiet pursuit; 

Of understanding, 

So, we may love true. 

For wisdom speaks less, 

And listens much more; 

To love as we’re called, 

Better than before. 

Purposeful seeking, 

Leads to better way; 

To love each other, 

Throughout all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use wisdom and insight to choose our words carefully. Thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to show us new understanding so that we may love as You love. Forgive us for speaking in ignorance. Teach us to listen and learn, so that we may truly love as You created us to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your love may be evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak little and listen much, so that we may love as You love us. 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

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

Poetry Lived Out

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. 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

 

Clear Acts of Mercy

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Live kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see the new Star Wars movie. What I love about the Star Wars series is that there is an ongoing theme of “good triumphs over evil” as the saga between the Imperial Empire and the Rebellion continues throughout with new generations of Jedi. Without being a spoiler, it was clear acts of mercy and choosing good that brought about Jedi success – both at pivotal moments in the movie, and as the story concluded. In real life, the same holds true when we choose to extend mercy and goodness, denying our initial thought of revenge or retaliation. God’s grace enters in, and something happens in the hearts of both the merciful and the one receiving grace, to change the circumstance for the better. It may not be immediate and dramatic, but such acts of love and mercy make their way into hearts, and one cannot help but be changed as the recipient of undeserved mercy. That is how Christ came to us. While we were yet sinners, He loved. In our darkness and ugliness, He brought light and life and love. May we choose to go forth in the goodness of God, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, all of the days of our lives.

 

The Lord has shown us,Clear Acts of Mercy

What it is to love;

Act justly, give grace,

Like God up above.

As we humbly walk,

And follow the Lord;

We love as He loves,

Mercy is outpoured.

For each act of grace,

And mercy we choose;

Is a way to show,

God’s blessed good news.

For He came to us,

Full of love and grace;

Teaches us mercy,

As we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Thank You that You modeled a life lived accordingly through Your Son, and equip us to do the same by Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we neglect Your still small voice within that tells us how to act justly and live mercifully in You. Teach us to listen and follow Your leading, so that we may humbly walk beside You, extending mercy, grace and goodness to all. Show us how to love those around us in this way, even when it is difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the kindness and mercy that You continually show unto us. Let our lives be an offering of the overflow of Your goodness and grace. 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

Strength and a Sure Path

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (2 Samuel 22:33, NIV)

God is my strong fortress. He clears the path I need to take. – (2 Samuel 22:33, ERV)

God is my strong fortress; He has made me safe. – (2 Samuel 22:33, TLB)

 

Returning home after a long leave away, launched me into a season of scheduled busy that keeps me moving from early morning until the time I lie down to sleep each night. Though I would not trade it, on days such as this, I have to pause and reflect, and recognize that I only reached Friday by God’s grace and strength, with His guidance. He has protected my boys as they have begun the venture of driving solo, and granted each of us strength to return to the routine of the school year. Currently, this also includes crazy, busy weekends for all of us. God is good, and He knows our needs and is generous and kind to meet them. He makes a way for us to navigate securely, and shows us what to prioritize to maintain peace. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and fortress, and to show us the way that He is leading us to go.

As for mom, I imagine she is seeking the Lord to be her strength and security too, as she adapts to the new schedule in Oregon at my sister’s. With my nephews back at school, and sister and brother-in-love back to work, she has a “Visiting Angel” spending time with her during the day in their absence, and is continuing to adjust to discovering a new routine with new care-givers during the day. Mom is resilient and kind, and I know will continue to work tirelessly toward recovering with her eyes on the prize; ever pursuing her total independence again.

 

The Lord is our strength, Bold in Battle

Keeps the way secure;

Grants hope for today,

Help so we endure.

In all our trials,

And each victory;

God will be present,

Love’s delivery.

All thanks be to God,

For His faithfulness;

As we are transformed,

By His graciousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and that You make our path secure. Thank You that You provide and guide, even when we feel weary or wonder how the way will even be possible. Forgive us for the times that we allow the obstacles or heaviness to cloud our faith, rather than look to You. Teach us to trust You, for You are far greater than anything that lies before us or comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and hope and direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your guidance, strength and love that lead us well. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2