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

Hope That Will Not Disappoint

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – (Romans 5:5, HCSB)

And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us. – (Romans 5:5, ERV)

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

The hope of God is what we have to hold onto. Over the past few months, I have learned of several friends from my formative years who have had difficult diagnoses that require lengthy treatment and follow ups. Each has some sort of cancer that has necessitated surgery and chemotherapy in the many months to come. Incredibly, each of these precious people have a strong faith that includes hope in He who is our Healer. Looking at the clouds and ocean this morning, the image I captured seems to provide a visual of what is going on. If you look only at the horizon, a storm is evident and the rain in the distance appears to be coming down. However, if you look up, the light is glowing above, around and from behind the clouds. To me, this is the perfect picture of hope. We traverse life’s storms, yet what is above us, behind us and surrounding us is full of life and light and hope. God is good, even in the midst of the awful, and is present to help and uphold us. May we ever turn to the Lord and trust in Him, for He will never fail to satisfy our deepest need as He overwhelms us with His love.

O Lord hold our heart,

When storms come our way;

Flood us with Your love,

True hope that will stay.

Provide what’s needed,

For those in the fight;

Strengthen, surround them,

With Your loving light.

Grace in the process,

As You hold us up;

Love overflowing,

As You fill our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that hope in You never disappoints, for Your love is poured out to fill us, surround us, and hold us up in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears when we see and hear diagnoses that seem discouraging. Thank You that You are bigger than anything and everything that comes against us. Please hold each of these dear ones in the hollow of Your hands, and bring miraculous healing as only You can. Strengthen and encourage each with the power of Your great love. Show us how to love those in the fight well, and practical ways to encourage and lift up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they witness the power of Your great love and care for all. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You, even when storms rage around us. Amen. 

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

The God of All Comfort

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, HCSB)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

I am so thankful for the comfort that God provides, and that He calls us to offer the same to those around us. Every time I have experienced hardships, struggles or affliction, He has provided people to make His comfort tangible to me. We are in a season where so many have suffered, be it due to hardship, isolation, illness or strife. For each time that we have known comfort in these things, we have been prepared to extend the same comfort to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, for He has shown us how to love and comfort those around us through His ongoing goodness and grace.

All praise to the Lord,

The God of all grace;

Our peace and comfort,

Throughout all our days.

Each time we struggle,

The Lord’s ever near;

Holds us in heartache,

And calms all our fears.

He shows us goodness,

When goodness seems gone;

Hope when we’re hopeless,

Strength to carry on.

Just as He shows us,

His love, hope and grace;

He leads and equips,

So we do the same.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You comfort us with Your faithful ways. Thank You that You call us and empower us to comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not reached out to those in need. Teach us to have Your eyes to see what we can do to comfort those around us, and Your heart to love as You love us. Show us how to love each other well, in good times and in bad, so that all might know the healing and help that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up those around us, and extend our hands and hearts to show Your tangible and unfailing love. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Our Source of Strength and Peace

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, HCSB)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

Strength and peace are a perfect pairing, as the two are needed to navigate challenges, exhaustion and the like. This morning, as I prepare for the last day before a four-day weekend, I need both the strength and the peace of God to navigate this day well. With Him, I can do all that I am called to do. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, for He is faithful to meet us where we are and equip us with what we need.

The Lord is faithful,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He gives strength and peace;

Blessed assurance,

To meet all our needs.

And as the Lord gives,

We’re given enough;

To share with others,

His grace and His love.

In weariness seek,

For in Him we find;

All that is needed,

For heart, soul and mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our peace in all things and at all times. Thank You that Your love fills and equips us with all that we need to keep moving forward throughout each new day. Forgive us for not slowing down to seek You in our weariness. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, for You are faithful to meet us and supply us with all that is needed and more. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may experience Your strengthening and Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for being our Source of strength and peace. Amen.

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

He said, “Don’t be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong!” – Daniel 10:19a

Lead Us to Love Well

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs, – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate how clearly 1 Corinthians walks us through what love is, and what it is not. God’s love is perfect and people are not. We are broken and fall short, yet we have guidance to lead us to love well. When we pause to look around, we can see evidence of God’s love everywhere. There are those who exemplify this very sort of love beautifully. Two examples that God set before me include my grandmother and my own mom. Both of these women have always exemplified patience and kindness, were/are not easily upset, and did/do not keep record of wrongs. Arrogance was/has no part of who they were/are, and each has always considered others before themselves. Their modeling has continually compelled me to seek the Lord to lead me in love. We are all a work in progress, yet the more we seek the Lord to lead and empower us, the more readily we love well. May we ever seek the One who is love so that we too, may love as He intended.

Love’s patient and kind,

Mom and Gram ❤

Forgiving with grace;

God’s heart to extend,

Throughout all our days.

Love does not envy,

Not full of itself;

Love seeks ways to bless,

To reach out and help.

Love’s not conceited,

It’s humble and kind;

Keeping no records,

Leaves the past behind.

True love looks forward,

Chooses to endure;

Knows love is what lasts,

Faith and hope assured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Love, and that You show us what love is and what it is not. Thank You that we all have been created with the capacity to love and be loved. Forgive us for the times that we have not been patient or kind, when we have been envious or proud, when we’ve acted improperly, been selfish, or held a grudge. Teach us to love as You do, for Your love lasts forever. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. Amen.

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

This is what I command you: Love one another. – John 15:17

Faithful Pursuit

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, HCSB)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

When we seek to live a life of love, marked by living right, doing good, and being faithful to love God and love people, we become people who are associated with integrity and respect. The challenge in this is there are and will always be, those who cannot see past themselves, have no regard for the positive pursuit of love that we seek to give, and can become a source of discouragement if we do not rely on God to lead and guide us. God is faithful, and He will give us His eyes to see those around us so that we can love as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might live right, pursue justice, and treat all others with kindness.

In everything,

Let us seek the Lord;

To live out His love,

As faith is restored.

For as we choose love,

And true faithfulness;

Justice is pursued,

Lives of graciousness.

True love and life found,

Through faithful pursuit;

God shall be our strength,

In Him we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and empowering us to love like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You lovingly lead us to walk in Your ways. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to do so on our own, for without You, we fail miserably. Lead us in Your ways so that we pursue justice, extend faithfulness, kindness and love to all. Show us how to love everyone as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. 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

Prioritize Love

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – (Matthew 22:37-39, HCSB)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

When we get back to making the main things the main things, and we choose to prioritize loving God and loving people, our lives begin to more clearly reflect what God intended all along. If we invest in our relationship with God and those around us, His grace covers us and His love surrounds us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we might love one another as He loves us.

Lord, help us to love,

With all that we are;

First You, then others,

Both those near and far.

Lead us and guide us,

So that we love well;

May our words and deeds,

Of Your goodness tell.

Grant us Your patience,

Kindness and Your grace;

To truly listen,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us. Thank You that as we do so, we are walking in obedience to all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate in love. Teach us how to live in the light of Your love in all that we say and do. Show us how to love You and those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to love You and love those around us as You love all of us. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Tangible Love for the Common Good

Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. – (Hebrews 13:16, HCSB)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice” – that take place in the kitchen and workplace and on the streets. – (Hebrews 13:16, MSG)

God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He supplies us with all that we need. Our purpose is to love God and love people. To truly love requires actions, not mere words. His love and care for us is made evident when we see, feel and understand how He cares for the smallest details in our lives. A thoughtful gesture, a kind word, a helping hand – all provide evidence of God’s goodness made tangible. So many times God uses people to demonstrate the abundance of His goodness and love for us. I cannot even count the times that I have been blessed, encouraged or built up through the loving kindness of others in exactly the way that I needed. God’s hand and heart were evident, and His love for me, overwhelming. Each one of us has the opportunity to demonstrate His love every day. When we choose to be led by His love, we see spaces that need light and life and love and are able to reach out and do something tangible for another. May we seek the Lord in prayer and listen to His leading, so that we may be His ambassadors of love throughout each new day.

Let us not neglect,

To love and do good;

To choose be aware,

How love’s understood.

For it is not words,

That show love alone;

But rather actions,

That make His love known.

Encouraging words,

A tangible touch;

A need that is met,

Truly means so much.

Lord, show us the needs,

Where we can reach out;

So we might love well,

Show what love’s about.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give abundantly in love. Forgive us for the times that we have taken anything for granted and have neglected to work for the common good. Teach us to look for opportunities to bless and give and love well. Show us how to love each person that we encounter, whether it is through meeting a need, giving a helping hand, or extending words of encouragement that are intentional and specific. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to offer worship unto You through the things we do in love. Amen.

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

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – Ephesians 4:2

Because Love…

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. – (1 John 4:7, HCSB)

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him. – (1 John 4:7, TPT)

My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. – (1 John 4:7, VOICE)

We are called and created to love one another. Because God first loved us, when we seek Him and invite Him to rule and reign in our lives, we are equipped and empowered to love those around us. It is up to us to choose to seek Him and allow God to work in and through us so that we may love those around us well. As we grow in our knowledge of God and His perfect love, our desire to love as He does increases. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and lead us in love, so that we may love one another as God intended.

When God’s our Father,

We learn to love well;

The best example,

Equips us to tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Give lavishly, grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

As we seek the Lord,

He transforms our hearts;

Leads us to love well,

Shows us where to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love, but You grow us and equip us to love like You as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking, or for neglecting to allow You to lead us in love. Teach us to embrace Your goodness and grace so that we may share it with all those around us. Show us how to love each person we encounter as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually pour out to others from the abundance that You have poured into us. Amen.

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

This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12