Two Ears and Only One Mouth

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)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Faithful Foundations

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, NIV)

Your kingdom is built on truth and justice. Love and faithfulness are servants before Your throne. – (Psalm 89:14, ERV)

Your glorious throne rests on a foundation of righteousness and just verdicts. Grace and truth are the attendants who go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, TPT)

God is all about righteousness and justice, as love and faithfulness are wherever God is invited. The struggle in this is that too many place their own spin on the truth and what is right and just becomes skewed. Grace and truth accompany God, and are evident in those who earnestly seek Him. Though in our human condition we will never get it all right on our own, with Christ, we can be refined and raised up to more clearly reflect the foundation that He intended all along. May we ever pursue the Lord and His heart so that we may walk humbly, do justly, and love mercy as we were meant to do.

The kingdom of God,

Is loving and just;

Righteousness shall lead,

In truth among us.

The challenge in this,

We must choose pursue;

The Lord’s very best,

In all that we do.

Let righteousness lead,

So justice may reign;

In truth persevere,

And love shall remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You are loving and faithful always. Forgive us for the times that our decisions, words or actions lacked alignment with Yours. Teach us to walk humbly in pursuit of You and Your heart for all, to act justly in all things and at all times, and to love mercy in the same way that You love and extend mercy to us. Lead us to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to refine our hearts to more clearly reflect Yours. Amen.

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

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

Redeemed to Love

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through His powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away His righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! – (Romans 3:23-24, TPT)

We all are broken and fall short. However, Jesus came so that we could be forgiven and free from all of our sin and shame, and find new life in Him. This is available for all people, for the hardened criminal and the good citizen alike; it is up to us to receive what He freely offers, and pursue a life following after Him. Today, this is my reminder to not allow anger or frustration a foothold, for the ones who did such such horrible things are received and forgiven if they repent and turn to God, in the same way it is available for you and me. If I am truly to have a heart like Christ, this indeed must be my hope for them. There are consequences for criminal behavior, as there should be, yet the heart can be forgiven and set free from all. Though I would be willing to guess that they do not know Jesus, I can pray that they would come to know Him. Eternal freedom is far more important than the temporary satisfaction of revenge or retaliation. The law is clear and there will be consequences for their actions, so my responsibility is to keep loving God and loving people, even when it means praying for those who inflicted harm on the defenseless. It is a process, daily, and at times, hourly; for I know what I must continue to do. May we ever seek the One who sets us free from our sin and shame, and allow Him to soften our hearts and love bigger than we ever thought possible.

O Lord help our hearts,

To forgive, set free;

Place all in Your hands,

Lord Jesus, help me.

A sin is a sin,

And I’m not the judge;

Help me to release,

A hold of a grudge.

For true forgiveness,

Sets our own hearts free;

So sins ugly grip,

No longer holds me.

For justice belongs,

To the Lord above;

True freedom is found,

Through grace, hope and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made the way for all to know freedom and forgiveness in You. Thank You that none are disqualified from receiving redemption in You, regardless of our sin. Forgive us for our desire to retaliate and return evil for evil. Teach us to trust You and the laws that are established to take care of what is just. Show us how to love like You so that we would willingly pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You and discover the overwhelming mercy, goodness and love that You pour out upon all who receive what You offer and pursue eternity with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You access to transform our hearts so that we may mirror You lavish love to the world. Amen.

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Choose to Love

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

This is a beautiful reminder of what matters. Honesty, truth, trust, hope and perseverance are things that exemplify love. When we choose to love one another, we extend each of these things to each other. I appreciate the idea of love being a safe shelter, as loving and being loved well provides security and a sense of safety. Additionally, to love is a choice. God designed each of us for love, but we must choose to live according to our design. In order to love like the Lord, we need to know and trust Him. As we do, we become acutely aware of His love for us, and desire to share what we have been given. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His love so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

To love is to choose,

To speak truth always;

Rejoice in the good,

Found in each new day.

Love always protects,

Provides a safe space;

Where hope’s always found,

As is loving grace.

Love never will quit,

When the going’s rough;

Chooses persevere,

It’s always enough.

May we learn to love,

As we were designed;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

And always be kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us the way that You call us to love. Thank You that You do not ask of us, anything that You don’t already give. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to love as You call us to love. Teach us to receive all that You are offering so that we learn to love like You. Show us how to love others with honesty, trust, hope and a determination that never quits. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love like You. Amen.

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

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

Attributes of Wisdom

But the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT) 

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 to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV) 

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT) 

The attributes of godly wisdom are such that the hearer is willing to listen because the one who is actively utilizing the wisdom from God is pure, peaceful, loving, gentle and willing to hear others. One who is acting with God’s wisdom is merciful, ready to help people without favoritism and with true sincerity. This is a space where there is always room to grow. Obtaining godly wisdom is a life-long process. We do better when we know better, and knowing better only comes through earnestly seeking God’s heart in all things. Wisdom is needed to navigate each day, if we desire to live the life that we have been created to live. Each of us are designed with purpose, yet purpose is only discovered as we seek wisdom from our Creator. He will show us how to love and serve best, and will grant us the strength and stamina to continue to pursue wisdom and live in such a way that His heart is clearly made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow in His wisdom, for it is pure, peaceful, loving, teachable, fair, giving and honest. 

May we seek wisdom, 

From the Lord above; 

Pure, peaceful and kind, 

That demonstrates love. 

Let us be willing, 

To seek the Lord’s way; 

So justice and grace, 

Are made known each day. 

God in His goodness, 

Gives as we ask Him; 

So that we may love, 

With grace and wisdom. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of true wisdom. Thank You that You show us how to grow in Your wisdom as we pursue You. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us. Teach us to ever pursue You for Your wisdom. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, by Your wisdom. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom so that we know how to do Your will. Amen. 

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

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

Generosity and Justice

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. – (Psalm 112:5, NIV) 

It is good for people to be kind and generous and to be fair in business. – (Psalm 112:5, ERV) 

Life is good for the one who is generous and charitable, conducting affairs with honesty and truth. – (Psalm 112:5, TPT) 

We are called to live a life of generosity and justice. This requires that we are kind and generous, honest and fair. Each of these things are part of the lifestyle that Jesus modeled for us. We are called to love, and how He loved is the ultimate example. Jesus was generous with His time, talent and resources, and He was quick to identify things that were right and those that were not, and operated justly; always. With so many things out of our control right now, our best defense is to live a life of love. Where we have plenty, we ought to be generous. As we navigate our way through our ever-changing jobs, we must do so with honesty, truth and fairness. Being an educator, this is especially important, as what we do, demonstrates to the next generation, how things ought to be done. If we are kind, generous and fair, the same is given in return. Even when it is not, our hearts can hold fast to choosing what is right and knowing that we have done our best to do what we are called to do. May we ever pursue God’s heart, so we will know best how to be kind, generous and just. 

It is always good, 

To live such a life; 

Where true justice reigns, 

And giving ends strife. 

For we have been called, 

And lovingly shown; 

What God has required, 

His way’s been made known. 

To choose act justly, 

Love mercy as well; 

Walk humbly with God, 

So good, our lives tell. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tell us in Your word and have shown us through Your Son, how to be generous and just in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked a generous heart, or have not considered what is most just, equitable and fair. Show us how to live our lives with generosity, kindness and truth in all things. Help us to love those around us with generosity, humility, honesty and justice. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live the life You are calling us to lead. Amen. 

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

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 

Acutely Aware of Good

I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn Your righteous laws. – (Psalm 119:7, NIV) 

The more I understand how fair Your laws are, the more sincerely I will praise You. – (Psalm 119:7, ERV) 

With a pure heart, I will give thanks to You when I hear about Your just and fair rulings. – (Psalm 119:7, VOICE) 

Every time I get out in nature, I become acutely aware of God’s goodness and grace. Everything He asks of us is wrapped up in love – our call is to love Him and love people. If we do that, we are following His law with an upright heart. Incredibly, He loved us first; so much so, that He created beauty all around us and in us, simply to show us His love. This weekend, my family is blessed with time to get away to the woods and enjoy time together. Yesterday afternoon, my love and I took Thor, our nearly five-month-old lab puppy for a little hike around and down to a lake. It was the first time that he has been to a lake, and I don’t think his tail stopped wagging the entire time he waded in the water. Last evening, before we retired for the night, Thor met Raven, a four-month-old female lab, and the two of them were completely smitten with one another. I guess where I am going with this, is that pups love purely. Thor loves being outdoors in His creation, and loves people and other pups with a relentless, unwavering love. Observing the world through his eyes grants me an even deeper appreciation for God and His goodness to us all. May we ever seek the Lord to understand more deeply, the overwhelming passion with which He loves us all. Let our hearts praise Him with every breath and step that we take; for He is so very good. 

May each heart give praise, 

All thanks unto You; 

For justice and love, 

As Your ways are true. 

You call us to love, 

Yourself and others; 

Relentlessly shown, 

Sisters and brothers. 

All of creation, 

Demonstrates His love; 

If we look around, 

And praise Him above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and gracious, and that which You ask of us is right and fair. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or deeds have not reflected the love You call us to give. Teach us to love with an upright heart, and to give You praise throughout all of our days. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and love forever. Amen. 

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

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20

Resist Revenge and Do Good

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. – (1 Thessalonians 5:15, NIV) 

Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong. But always try to do what is good for each other and for all people. – (1 Thessalonians 5:15, ERV) 

Resist revenge, and make sure that no one pays back evil in place of evil but always pursue doing what is beautiful to one another and to all the unbelievers. – (1 Thessalonians 5:15, TPT) 

We are living in some seriously crazy times. After months of staying at home, and countless individuals attempting to survive without an income, unrest was lying dormant, ready to blow. Then, atrocities against humanity, caught on video and shared nationwide, were the fuel that sparked the already burning embers of desperation and despair. It is difficult to differentiate the peaceful protest that is taking place, from the rioting, looting and growing violence. Peaceful protest is not paying back wrong for wrong, but rather is a way to take a stand for what is good and right, in a way that grabs the attention of those who need to hear. Sadly, the angst that already existed, has been fueled in such a way, that people want to repay wrongs with wrongs. Our nation’s cities are on fire. In attempt to demand justice, anarchy is becoming intertwined with standing for what is right. How can we do good for all and bring an end to the chaos? I don’t know the solution, but I do know where I turn. God is good and just and kind. His love and compassion for people is incomparable.  Lord, help us all. We need peace and solutions and justice. Chaos cannot reign. Returning to life as we knew it seems elusive and far off. Clearly there are some aspects of what we knew that need to change, but our freedom to work, be out, see family and friends, worship together – these things are the very fabric of what weaves our hearts together and settles the unsettled spaces. All I know is to pray and to choose to do good, even when revenge feels justified. May we, as a nation, seek to do what is good and right, so that justice may reign, and the felt need for repaying those who do harm with harm that ravages our cities, ends. 

Lord, to You we come, 

Bowed heads, bended knee; 

May righteousness reign, 

O God, hear our plea. 

Forgive the ugly, 

And make right the wrongs; 

Help us to rise up, 

United and strong. 

Bring Your true justice, 

Restore, make things right; 

Let Your love lead us, 

To peaceably fight. 

Examine our hearts, 

Show us where to change; 

Let all be in love, 

We pray in Your Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of ugliness, injustice and unrest, You still reign. Thank You that You can bring hope and healing and wholeness to our communities and cities and nation. Forgive us for our desire to repay evil with evil. Teach us to strive what is good for one another, ever choosing to love first. Show us how to love one another as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we resist revenge and seek to do good. 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

Overcome Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. – (Romans 12:21, VOICE)

 

As social media has been flooded with the atrocity of the killing of an innocent man, out for a run, who was senselessly chased down and murdered by two self-professed vigilantes, who had no authority to question his motives for being out on a run, much less gun him down in cold blood. What is even more evil in all of this, is that nothing seemed to be done to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers until there was public outcry, due to the clear evidence produced in a release of video footage of the barbarity. For many of us, we feel overcome with horror at the wickedness that has played out through such a heinous act against humanity. That being said, the good that is rising up to bring justice to Ahmaud’s case, is overpowering the evil that transpired. No, there is nothing that will ever bring Ahmaud back to life, nor is there any justice that seems valid when a life is so senselessly taken; however, the good is raising awareness and aiding in a change of mindset for ordinary things that so many have taken for granted, and Ahmaud’s murderers are finally being charged. As a fellow runner, my heart aches for the fear that already exists in those who worry about a similar encounter, and for anyone who chooses not to go at all, due to the evil that is present and waiting to pounce. Awareness, education, wisdom and support are ways to combat and overpower the evil with good. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue to listen to the voices of those who have encountered and live with a constant heightened awareness of evil, simply because of the color of their skin, so that I can do what I can to be better and contribute to good overcoming such wickedness. May we seek the Lord to direct our steps to bring about a safe, peaceful, loving existence among all people, just as He intended.

 

So senseless the death, wp-15890342122543911826434050258269.png

Of a man, so young;

Out to maintain health,

With joy, he would run.

Evil encounter,

Malicious intent;

A life no longer,

Such darkness present.

The saying, it goes,

“Your sins find you out;”

The truth bringing good,

Airing evil out.

May justice be brought,

Where evil once stood;

May all do better,

And seek to do good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that good overcomes evil, even when the evil that takes place seems insanely overwhelming. Please be with the family of Ahmaud Arbery; though there is nothing that will ever make this senselessness right, let justice be served to those who murdered this young man. Thank You that Your intention is for there to be peace among Your people. Forgive us for the things we have said, done, or left unsaid or undone, that have prevented the good that You intended. Teach us to do and be better. Bring healing to our land, O God. Show us how to love one another, as sisters and brothers, in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we may ever overcome evil with good. Amen.

 

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

 

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