Purposeful Words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

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

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

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

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

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

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

Fend Off Sin and Do Good

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, HCSB)

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV)

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away! – (Psalm 34:14, MSG)

Sometimes doing good is walking away from a fight that is tempting, and choosing to only engage when kindness can be extended. Our charge is to seek peace, not get sucked into petty disputes. The best way to do this is to pursue God and His will. Often, when I begin to get angry or frustrated with someone, God stops me in my tracks and I find myself asking Him to show me His heart for them. What I have discovered each time that I have done so, there is a softening in me toward the other. Usually, I discover that the very behavior that got under my skin, was motivated by their own hurts. Does it make it right? No, but it does provide compassion and the capacity to respond gently with goodness and kindness. This is a lifelong process to pursue, not a one-and-done in a tough space. May we ever seek the Lord to help us stop doing the things we ought not do, and do the good that He calls us into. In the process, may we find His peace and embrace it.

Turn from temptation,

To do what’s not right;

Demean or put down,

Jump into a fight.

Instead, seek the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

Choose extend the good,

That His word decrees.

Embrace the Lord’s peace,

As it enters in;

For as we listen,

We fend away sin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and a promoter of peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us Your heart for others and help us turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. Forgive us for allowing our pride to get the better of us so that we walk into a war that need not be waged. Show us Your heart for those around us so that we might see them through Your eyes. Lead us to extend goodness and kindness to those around us as we embrace Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk away from the sin that attempts to creep in, and lead us to embrace Your peace as we seek You to do the good that we have been called to do. Amen.

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

If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. – Matthew 18:15

To Learn What is Good

You are good, and You do what is good; teach me Your statutes. – (Psalm 119:68, HCSB)

You are good, and You do good things. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:68, ERV)

You are good, and the Source of good; train me in Your goodness. – (Psalm 119:68, MSG)

You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require. – (Psalm 119:68, VOICE)

Because God is good, what He requires is also good. In our broken humanity, good is not always what comes naturally. Instead, we must invest time with God and read His word to grow in our understanding and listen as He reveals more of His heart to us. For the last eleven plus years, I have invested the start of each day into spending time in God’s word and in prayer. What I have learned and continue to learn is the importance of loving God and loving people. The more I spend time with Him, the more He reveals His heart for all of humanity. At the end of the day, what matters most is am I loving Him and loving those around me. He shows willing hearts how to love as He loves, and the process is one that takes a lifetime. No one ever arrives. We all have an ongoing need to learn and grow to become more like Him. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and love, so that we may continue to learn what He requires of us to live and love well.

The goodness of God,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Truth that shall remain;

All that the Lord does,

Shows His love explained.

It is up to us,

To choose seek the Lord;

And as we do so,

His grace is outpoured.

He shows us the way,

To live as He asks;

In all things, choose love,

Not a list of tasks.

So, choose to seek Him,

Spend time in His word;

In love, He’ll lead us,

Making His heart heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and all of Your ways are good. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love as You intended. Thank You that it is an ongoing process. Thank You that we are a work in progress. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to lead us. Teach us the value of investing time each day with You. Show us Your heart for us and for those around us. Lead us to love as You love. May many come to see and know how good You are and choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, grow us and transform us to be more like You in how we live and love each day. Amen.

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

Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Ask Accordingly

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

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

I appreciate that there are qualifiers to being heard when we ask. Jesus is not our fairy godmother nor some genie in a lamp. The same God who created the entire universe and all its inhabitants, is near enough to hear our prayers. He hears us as we ask according to His will, not our own. Often, our biggest blessings are seemingly unanswered prayers, as His plan is so much better. We think we know what we want and need, but God knows beyond our immediate circumstances. He sees the entire outcome and longs to bless, strengthen and guide us for all of our days, not just the days that we realize our need for His help. If things are good, we ought to praise Him. When things are challenging, we are meant to ask for His help, guidance and strength. God is faithful to hear us, and is loving and kind in how He answers. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways, higher than our own. May we ever seek the Lord with confidence, as we ask according to His good and perfect will.

Let’s ask of the Lord,

Sweet Tali girl asking to play. ❤

What is right and true;

Aligned with His will,

For in Him, things move.

When we ask the Lord,

To come in and change;

We must allow Him,

Full and complete reign.

This means we listen,

And choose to obey;

That which He asks us,

Do all things His way.

It isn’t easy,

But always it’s best;

He give what we need,

Be it strength or rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and pray to You, and You hear our prayers. Thank You that You answer according to Your good and perfect will, not our whims or wish lists. Thank You that Your ways are always best, even when we cannot begin to understand how. Forgive us for the times that we have sought You with wishes instead of heartfelt prayers. Teach us to invest time in Your word and in prayer so that we know Your voice and understand how to ask according to Your will rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and kindness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and ask of You according to Your will. Amen.

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

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

Promoting Peace and Building Each Other Up

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19. NIV)

This is important in every aspect of our lives, and we all are an ongoing work in progress. It requires an intentional decision to seek and depend on God to lead us to do and say things that promote peace and build others up. As we do, there is opportunity for faith to be fortified. To do this requires a never-ending cycle of seeking God, listening to Him, and a willingness to be corrected and redirected. Right now, my husband and I are on vacation. We are two very different types of people; though this is good, as it creates balance for both of us, it is an ongoing work to recognize one another’s needs and desires. For me, when I go somewhere new, I want to see and experience everything humanly possible in the short time we are provided. My husband, bless his heart, wants to slow down and simply relax. He is a champion at being willing to go out and explore, and I am learning to slow down and accept the need to rest. It is an ongoing battle, as I don’t want to miss out, yet know that if I just remain present in the moment, there will be peace and both of us will be built up. God is good, and He shows us what we ought to do to promote peace and build one another up. It is our task to listen and follow His lead. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best promote peace and build up those around us.

We’re called to pursue,

That which promotes peace;

Willing compromise,

As grace does increase.

Each time that we choose,

To bless each other;

Both are encouraged,

Sisters and brothers.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love, promote peace;

Build each other up,

As Your love’s increased.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You call us and show us how to promote peace and build each other up in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have either not listened to You or have only sought after our own selfish ambitions. Teach us to be a blessing as we make decisions that promote peace and encourage those around us. Show us how to love and make choices as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in promoting peace and building those around us up in the goodness of Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our thoughts and words matter to God. The musings of the heart are directly linked to what we take in. For me, this means that in order to keep my thoughts from wandering down a road I need not travel, I have to be cautious about what I consume. If I set my heart on God to begin each day, I am in a better position to choose my words and direct my thoughts wisely. However, if I listen to or watch something violent or full of angst, even if my words do not reflect what I have taken in, my thoughts struggle to turn away from the unpleasant. I know some folks have a filter that simply sifts out such stuff, but as a very visual individual, it is too difficult to not keep reliving what I do not want to relive. Everyone is different, but it is important to know how we can best keep our words and thoughts turned toward God, so that what we say, think and do is a reflection of His love. May we ever seek the Lord to help set our hearts on Him so that our words and the musings of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

O Lord, let Your love,

Lead my thoughts and words;

So goodness is stored,

And grace is what’s heard.

Keep my heart upheld,

In Your loving light;

By grace filter out,

All that is not right.

Show me through Your lens,

That which needs to go;

Flood me with Your thoughts,

So Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us what it is to meditate on Your love and share it with others through all that we do and say. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been pleasing to You. Teach us how to clear our minds of that which does not build up, and to set our sights on You and Your love. 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 You to help keep our words and thoughts on that which is pleasing to You. Amen.

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

May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 104:34

Wise Words Heal

There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, HCSB)

Speak without thinking and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV)

Thoughtless words cut deeply like a thrusting sword, but the speech of the wise is a healing balm. – (Proverbs 12:18, VOICE)

Our words have the power to hurt or heal. It is up to us to slow down and seek the Lord to lead us. Wisdom is granted to the seeking, and God provides all that we need to speak in love. I imagine we all have been the recipients of both harsh and healing words. Both leave a lasting impression, yet only words of wisdom spoken in love have the power to propel us to go and do likewise for those around us. Harsh words beget harsh words, yet kind and healing words encourage us to extend the same to others. May we ever seek the Lord to remove rash words from our lips and to fill us with His wisdom and loving kindness so that we would bring healing to those around us with what we say.

May we ever speak,

With wisdom and grace;

Let each word help heal,

Throughout all our days.

If words are unkind,

Intended for harm;

May they fall silent,

Lord, help us discern.

Show us in wisdom,

Lead us with Your grace;

Teach us to love well,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is Your intention that we use our words well to bring help and healing to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have been harsh or rash without love. Teach us to listen for Your leading so that Your words of wisdom extend healing to all. Show us how to respond and interact with everyone we meet, for we desire that every word extended is spoken in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to speak loving words with Your wisdom and keep harsh words far from us. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Invest in Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may our Lord Jesus (the Anointed One Himself) and God our Father (who has loved us, comforted us eternally, and given us a good hope by His grace) bring comfort to your hearts and strengthen your wills to accomplish every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor finished a series entitled, “No One Stands Alone”. The big ideas in the messages have been about us all being called to community, not isolations, to find and be a mentor to others, and yesterday, finished up with a character study about Barnabas; as he was a fantastic example of what it is to come alongside others and be an encourager. Encouragement goes beyond simple “atta ways” and “you’ve got this”. To be an encourager is to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside others to help them continue to grow and thrive as they seek Him. This can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, verbally and the like. It is so much more than a kind word. Barnabas exemplified what it is to be an encourager, as he left what he knew and his community, to go encourage and build up the believers that were a couple of hundred miles away. Additionally, he helped provide finances for those who were lacking, which was a sacrificial demonstration of God’s love that was made tangible to those in need around him. As he closed out the service, Omar (our pastor) asked the questions, “Who are the people in your life who are like a Barnabas to you?” and “Who can you be a Barnabas to?” Both questions required little thought, as I am blessed with a long list of those who have invested in and encouraged me, and know many who are in need of encouragement in this season. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be an encouragement to those around us, both in word and action.

To choose to love well,

Be encouraging;

Is a lifestyle choice,

That we choose to bring.

Not in our own strength,

But led by the Lord;

Who shows us the way,

That grace is outpoured.

A love that is seen,

Not just by mere words;

But true investments,

That make actions heard.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Be encouraging,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to encourage and walk alongside us. Thank You for those whom You have called us to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we did not listen to Your leading as to how we might lift up and encourage those around us. Show us how to be dependent on Your Spirit to lead us to love those around us in ways that build them up and encourage them forward to all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Encourager to us all. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to encourage others well, and help us recognize and appreciate the people whom You have led to encourage us. Amen.

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

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Answer Gently

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

He Hears Our Heart

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

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

Right now, there is so much hurt and brokenness in the world. It seems like my most common asks before the Lord are for help and healing for the hurting. I know it is God’s will for people to be known and loved and whole, so I trust that He hears each prayer. As we seek and ask, He leads us and shows us what we can do, both practically and prayerfully. May we ever bring our requests boldly before Him, and listen to His leading throughout each new day. 

O God, I draw near,

And choose ask of You;

For I know You hear,

And Your heart is true.

You love, no limits,

Because we are Yours;

You lead with intent,

Show us open doors.

God, help us listen,

As You hear us all;

Direct each pathway,

And Your love, install.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers as we seek You for that which is right and true and motivated by love. Forgive us for the times that we ask for things that do not align with Your plans, and for when we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to listen and follow after all You have for us, and show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your heart is made tangible to all who seek You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and listen for Your leading. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8