Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

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

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Love Beyond What is Seen

For we walk by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, HCSB)

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

When we know God and trust in Him, we need not fear what we see with our eyes, but rather hold fast to the truth of all that He has promised. What we see is only a small part of the big picture; we only know in part what God knows in whole. He knows the outcome before things begin, and He holds us in the hollow of His hands. In Him, we can trust that He will lead us, guide us, and stay beside us, through every step of every day. So often, things have looked bleak or hopeless or impossible through my own eyes, yet with Christ, the bleak became beautiful; the hopeless, full of hope; the impossible was indeed possible and my perspective was persuaded to see beyond what my eyes could take in. Walking in faith is not blind, but rather it is seeing through His eyes rather than our own. May we ever walk in faith, trusting beyond what we cannot see, for God sees and knows all and has our very best in mind.

O Lord help us walk,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By faith and not sight;

For we’ve but a glimpse,

Of all You make right.

Seasons of heartache,

And mountains we climb;

All with a purpose,

Holy and divine.

Each new obstacle,

You grant us the strength;

To keep on moving,

Through height, depth and length.

As our view changes,

And we have moved past;

You show us purpose,

Your love beyond our ask.

So, trust in the Lord,

Not in what we see;

For God’s always good,

In love He will lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith helps us to trust beyond what we can see, for we only see in part what You see in whole. Forgive us for our lack of faith when what we see seems far beyond what we are capable of navigating. Teach us to recognize that You can do far more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to walk by faith and live out Your love for all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust beyond what we can see, for You are good and far greater than anything that comes before us. Amen.

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

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift. – Ephesians 2:8

Seek His Leading

Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. – (Mark 7:15, HCSB)

There is nothing people can put in their mouth that will make them wrong. People are made wrong by what comes from inside them. – (Mark 7:15, ERV)

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. – (Mark 7:15, NLT)

We all have to make our own choices about what we allow our hearts and minds to consume, however, what we take in and that which is around us is not what defiles us, but rather it is what comes from our heart and escapes through our mouths, attitudes and actions, that becomes sinful when we choose to act or speak from a space that ought to be given to God. To keep our hearts and minds in the right position with God, it requires intentional time with Him. God is faithful to lead us and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go, and He shows us what is good. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our every word, thought and deed, so that we may be blameless before Him by His amazing grace.

Lord, lead us in love,

In all that we do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

With love, ever new.

Let not surroundings,

Taint what is within;

Lead us in Your ways,

Keep us far from sin.

It’s only by grace,

Found as we seek You;

That ugliness goes,

And our hearts love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in Your love and extend the same to those around us. Thank You that what we take in, the things that surround us, do not make us impure before You, but rather what we think, say or do that does not align with You. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented the goodness of Your love and grace. Teach us to immerse ourselves in time with You, so that we live out Your love and rid ourselves of what defiles us from the inside out. Show us how to love all those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love in every word thought and deed that we live out. Amen.

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

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14

Nothing Without Love

If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, HCSB)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and may I have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ERV)

What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, VOICE)

No matter what good we do or say, it is meaningless if love is not our reason. God calls and commands us to love. All words and gestures are lost if love is not the motivation. In order to love in all things, we must be equipped and filled. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is a practical application of actions without love. When we become depleted without refreshment, all that we say and do becomes out of obligation rather than motivated by love. Obligation is exhausting. In reality, we all have obligations, yet when we are filled and equipped with love, we are able to fulfill what is required with love and intention rather than frustration. May we begin each day by seeking our Savior so that we may be refreshed, renewed and made ready to love in all things.

Empty are all things,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

If love is not there;

For only with love,

Can we show we care.

May all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be done fueled by love,

So God’s heart shines through.

Help us be people,

After Your own heart;

Lead us in Your love,

As each new day starts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the most excellent way is love. Thank You that You call and equip us to love. Forgive us for the things we have said and done that were not motivated and equipped with Your love. Teach us to rely on You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to do all things in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each new day to lead us well so that all that we say and do is done in love. Amen.

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

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Reward in Repentance

The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, HCSB)

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. – (Proverbs 28:13, NASB)

Whoever tries to hide his sins will not succeed, but the one who confesses his sins and leaves them behind will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, VOICE)

Repentance is a powerful and necessary part of our walk with God. It is the admission of our lack of trust and self-reliance, and a turning to God to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. This is an ongoing process, for we have a free will and a fallen nature. It requires intentional seeking and purposeful self-awareness to recognize not only our need for God, but an awareness of the times that we have sought to build our own kingdoms and relied on our own strength. We need God’s wisdom, mercy and grace to walk in His way and do His will. May we ever seek the Lord with open hearts and sincere honesty, confessing not only our need for Him, but also asking forgiveness for the times that we have relied on ourselves instead of seeking the Lord to do what is good and right before Him. We must surrender our own plans and agendas and look to the Lord to lead us according to His good and perfect will.

O Lord, we repent,

From all we have done;

That dishonors You,

The Most Holy One.

Forgive the selfish,

Self-reliant things;

That shadow Your light,

The only True King.

Help us turn away,

From trying alone;

For in You we find,

Your way is made known.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

Lead us in Your love,

So people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and repent for our self-reliance and selfish ways, You forgive us and lead us in Your goodness and grace. Teach us to seek and rely on You in all things, for You are ever-present to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You want us to. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent from all that does not honor You, and depend on You to show us what to do in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19

Love Answers With Action

Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. – (1 John 3:18, HCSB)

My children, our love should not be only word and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

Love is a funny thing. We can say it all we want, but until we see and experience it for ourselves, it is merely a theory that holds little value. God designed us intentionally. Our hearts are created to give and receive love. People have varying ideas as to what love is, for in our broken human condition, the word often becomes skewed and hollow rather than something to embrace, give and receive. Most of us really begin to understand what real love is when it is shown through the actions of others who have no expectation of anything in return. Amazingly, the more we know and experience love, the more we are filled up and ready to love others in the same way. With God, we grow in our understanding of the magnitude of His love for us; a love that gave all so that we might have life in abundance. If we desire to truly love as Christ loves us, we must make love and grace a way of life. God spells out for us what love is and is not. 

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it is not boastful, it is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love, not with mere words, but with our every decision, action, and lifestyle.

O Lord let our love,

Be far more than words;

May our actions speak,

Beyond what is heard.

Lead us and guide us,

To love as You do;

Let our very lives,

Give praise unto You.

As we choose love well,

With actions and deeds;

May Your love be clear,

The answer to needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that You not only call us to love, but You show us how and You equip us to do so. Forgive us for the times that our words have been hollow or our actions have not been a reflection of the love that You give to us. Teach us to love others as You first loved us. Show us how to live a life of love that makes Your love evident through our every action and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love well with our lives. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

Grow Us in Grace

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – (2 Peter 3:18, HCSB)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to Him, now and forever! Amen. – (2 Peter 3:18, ERV)

But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May He receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen! – (2 Peter 3:18, TPT)

As we grow in grace and understanding of who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but be transformed to reflect His heart to the world. For this and so much more, all glory belongs to Him both now and forever, as He continues to grow and transform us until the day we meet Him face-to-face. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and deepen our understanding of Him and His perfect love so that we may love well and give Him glory with all that we say and do.

Grow us Lord Jesus,

In Your love and grace;

Grant us Your wisdom,

To walk in Your ways.

Let all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be drenched in Your love,

Give glory to You.

Lead us each morning,

In wisdom to seek;

Your heart for others,

And strength when we’re weak.

Transform our thinking,

So that all we choose;

Is loving and kind,

And shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow us in our capacity to love and increase our understanding so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for acting and reacting in our own broken humanity rather than through the lens of Your love. Teach us to trust You and to slow down and seek You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love well, all those around us each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us and transform us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace in His fullness. – John 1:16

Let Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. – (Hebrews 13:1, HCSB)

Continue to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called to love one another. This love ought to be as sisters and brothers, for such love is patient and kind and does not end. I love how God shows us examples and illustrations of what He desires for us through everyday experiences around us. In our home, we have two dogs that are still in the puppy phase. They are three months apart and have gone through some growing pains as they have learned to get along. The two of them are rough and tumble and love to wrestle and play chase. At times, it sounds like they are going to throttle each other, but then moments later they are laying side by side or nose-to-nose, completely content in each other’s presence. They are fiercely protective of one another, and are unsettled when the other is not nearby. When on walks, Thor, our 95-pound Lab, moves to the outside so that Tali, our 70-pound Pittie who is fearful and reactive to cars, feels safe and will keep walking. How this translates as humans is the recognition of one another’s needs and the desire to care for and protect each other. Love is made tangible through the little things that we do to show one another that we are seen, known, and cared for. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us and direct us in how to love one another best, as we are called to do.

Lord, show us Your love,

So we use it well;

Lead us and guide us,

Let our actions tell.

Tell of Your goodness,

In love, extend grace;

Brothers and sisters,

With care choose embrace.

God show us today,

How to love like You;

All those around us,

So Your love rings true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love each other as brothers and sisters. Thank You that such love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Forgive us for the times that our attitude or actions toward one another have been lacking love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our Source and Supply that knows no end. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love one another with a love that knows no end. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7

Pursue Peace

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness – without it no one will see the Lord. – (Hebrews 12:14, HCSB)

Try to live in peace with everyone. And try to keep your lives free from sin. Anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord. – (Hebrews 12:14, ERV)

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, since no one will see God without it. – (Hebrews 12:14, VOICE)

There are times that this seems like a monumental task, yet it is what we are called to do. If we are pursuing peace, we are choosing to love over being right. To pursue holiness, we must pursue He who is holy. It is Christ in us that makes us holy, not anything that we say or do on our own. Our eternal hope is held in the Lord and as we choose Him again and again, we can rest assured that He holds us in His hands. God strengthens and equips us to pursue peace with those around us and to seek His righteousness to keep us on the path that He has prepared for us. May we ever seek the Lord for love, strength and direction as we pursue peace and aspire to live according to His good and perfect will, so that we may rest assured in the promise of heaven forever. 

O Lord show us how,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To pursue Your peace;

A love that settles,

Puts others at ease.

Lead us and guide us,

Away from all sin;

Show us Your nearness,

Give strength from within.

For only in You,

Is there holiness;

We’re covered and cleansed,

By Your righteousness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pursue peace and to live right through the power of Your great love. Forgive us for every time we fall short. Teach us to ever seek You to be our strength that propels us forward in peace and righteousness. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we pursue peace with everyone and walk in the wonder of Your great love knowing that our hope is in eternity with You. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Unseen Reality

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Faith and hope are funny things, for we all have faith and hope in something. Some hope for a spouse, a job, a vacation or simply something more than they have known before. In Christ, we can have faith in a hope that is certain, and proof of what we cannot see. His love overwhelms and surrounds us and shows us that we can be certain in the reality that we do not yet see. Without faith, it is impossible to find hope, for we must trust in something to hope that there is more than what we now see. May we ever look to the Lord to grow our faith, it is through Him that we know hope and trust in the things unseen.

Lord, strengthen our faith,

In all that is true;

Let Your hope be known,

As we trust in You.

Please grant us Your peace,

In space of unrest;

Lead us and guide us,

To all that is best.

Make the things unseen,

Known reality;

For all that You are,

Hope that sets us free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we learn and grow in the goodness of Your love, faith rises and we become certain of our hope in You. Thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You and be tangibly aware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for relying on what is only seen right now. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our hope, help and future that is secure. Show us how to love those around us so that they too may know hope, even in that which is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grow our faith, for our hope is held in You forever. Amen.

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

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18