Justice and Mercy Mean More

This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” – (Zechariah 7:9, NIV)

This is what the Lord All-Powerful said: “You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, ERV)

Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, MSG)

 

The context of this verse takes us back to the time of King Darius, as Zechariah received a word from the Lord regarding the traditional season of mourning and fasting. God spoke to Zechariah about the heart behind what the people were doing, and let him know that He would far prefer the people extend true mercy and justice, rather than partaking in religious rituals for themselves. Things are no different today, as God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is after our hearts, desiring that we extend His love, mercy, compassion and justice to others in the same way that He so generously and unreservedly loves each of us. Yes, there are seasons for mourning and fasting, but it must be with a heart intent on seeking Him, rather than simply jumping through some sort of religious hoop. May we seek the Lord and His love, so that we may treat one another justly, love our neighbors, and be compassionate with one another in the same way that He is with us.

 

For we are all called, Justice and Mercy Mean More

In kindness, choose love;

Show mercy and grace,

As God does for us.

Treat others justly,

Be compassionate;

Love one another,

To kindness, commit.

What matters the most,

In all that we do;

Is our heart to love,

Honor God in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love one another. Thank You that throughout Your word You unpack what it means to love. Thank You that mercy, compassion and justice are all part of loving as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in any of these areas. Teach us how to extend mercy, be compassionate, and to treat one another justly in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You love, for You extend all these things and more, though we do not deserve them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love like You – extending mercy, choosing compassion, and treating one another justly, regardless of what we receive. Amen.

 

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

 

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Good Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

 

This is the biblical version of “actions speak louder than words”. When we are consistent in character and choose to do good over and over again, our reputation stands among those who know us, and foolish or ignorant words spoken surrounding who we are, what we do, or what we stand for, will not be given ear by those who have observed who we are over time. It does not mean that humans are infallible, yet it reminds us to assume positive intent, especially among those who consistently choose to do good. God calls us to love one another, and choosing to extend kindness, grace and mercy in what we do and how we interact with others is paramount in pleasing God. May we seek the Lord for strength, so that we do not grow weary in doing good.

 

The Lord has called us, Ambassadors of Love

To choose to do good;

Be kind, show mercy,

Make grace understood.

For our character,

Should stand on its own;

Through consistent good,

God’s love is made known.

It is by His love,

That foolish talk falls;

As truth rises up,

Breaking down false walls.

So, let us choose good,

Again and again;

Love as the Lord loves,

So His truth shall reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good consistently over time. Thank You that as we do, our character and reputation speak louder than foolish talk spoken by those who intend harm. Thank You that what matters most is what You think of us, as Your opinion has eternal implications. Forgive us for worrying about disputing foolish talk, or engaging in banter that does not represent You well. Teach us to choose to do good in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You do, even when people speak foolishly with the intent to harm. Help us know how to do good in such a way that it silences the desire to be unkind, and grows good within the recipient. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5 

Set Aside Distractions

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, NIV)

But King David answered Araunah, “No, I will pay you the full price. I will not take anything that is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not give offerings that cost me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, ERV)

David replied to Araunah, “No. I’m buying it from you, and at the full market price. I’m not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, MSG)

 

The back story prior to King David determining to give an offering at that particular place, is that he had just been spared the full brunt of God’s wrath on Israel. David’s lack of trust in God led to a seemingly severe punishment, yet God relented prior to the complete fulfillment of what He had said would be done. David contended for mercy and an angel of the Lord told him to go up and build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice at that particular place. Being a man who understood what it meant to offer a sacrifice, he knew it required a cost on his part. When King David approached Araunah about purchasing the parcel of land to use to present sacrifices to God, Araunah was ready to give the land as a gift. David could not accept the land as a gift if it was part of a sacrifice, because for him, it had to have a cost. King David needed to be acutely aware of the expense, as a reminder of the mercy extended to him and all of Israel. When we make a sacrifice, it does not necessarily have to be monetary, yet it ought to be something that makes us aware of its absence so that we are expectant in wait of the better that is yet to come. For David, it was mercy for all of Israel. That was indeed far greater than the cost of a space to offer sacrifices. Today, the same principle still applies. When we are seeking answers, giving something up as we seek the Lord so that we might fully focus on Him, helps remind us what matters most. What are the answers you are seeking or the help you are needing? What is getting in your way? Identifying the distraction may be the first step in knowing what to set aside for a time, in order to seek the Lord for the help that is needed most. May we look to the Lord for the help and answers that we seek, and set aside that which distracts us from fully pursuing Him.

 

Seek the Lord our God, Set Aside Distractions

And all of His ways;

Remove distractions,

As we give God praise.

Pursue the Lord’s best,

As we set aside;

Barriers to Him,

Draw near, choose abide.

For when we focus,

On God and His will;

He leads and guides us,

And peace comes to fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and set aside the things that distract us, You answer us and show us more of Yourself. Thank You that You only ask us to lay things down so that we can have something better in You. Forgive us for allowing so many things to draw our attention away from You. Set our hearts and minds on You so that we live and love according to Your plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless and encourage and illuminate Your heart to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to sacrifice things that distract us from You and wholeheartedly pursue You and all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, Lord, for it is good. – Psalm 54:6

Wholehearted Seeking

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Jeremiah 29:13, ERV)

If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT)

 

Yesterday, was my marathon day for student-led conferences. After being at school for more than twelve hours, I was ready to head home when our day ended at 7:00 pm. Despite the long hours, I was provided plenty of time to accomplish much. Working in silent solitude is a wonderful way to clear my mind and center my heart. Three hours of purging in my back room (that was full of things left behind by several prior occupants) allowed my heart to fix on what matters most, and my mind to dump the junk, in the same way I was clearing out the clutter from my back room. God is not difficult to find when we wholeheartedly seek Him. He is found in the ordinary and mundane, just as easily as in the incredible and miraculous, if only we set our hearts and minds on the seeking. The excitement I was holding for the possibilities that lie ahead, still remain, and I am in a better space after having had a day away from a regular school day. I know not whether the possibility will come to fruition; however, I am certain that whatever transpires will be exactly what is best for me in this season. May we ever look for the Lord wholeheartedly, for it is when we do, that we find the One for whom we are seeking.

My favorite portion of catching up with my sister yesterday was the photo and video clip she shared with me of my sweet nephew and Mom. They had all gone out to dinner and Mom was using her walker. She does well, but sometimes curbs can be tricky. Ethan, being the “dainty fellow” that he is, went in for a hug, wrapped Mom in close and secure, and did a slow swirl to move her from on top of the curb to down by the car. Her smile in the photo says it all, and Meg said her response was, “Now, that, is the BEST hug I have had all day!” ❤ Our families cannot wait to get together for Thanksgiving, and I know Mom is beyond eager to have us all together under the same roof again.

 

When we seek the Lord, 479342179338376402483072.jpeg

He’s faithful and true;

His presence is found,

As hope is renewed.

With all that we are,

And all that we do;

Pursue the Lord’s help,

See His words shown true.

For the Lord is good,

Faithful forever;

Waiting for our hearts,

In each endeavor.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we find You. Thank You that You see and know the desires of our hearts, and that You honor and bless us with what is best. Forgive us for not seeking or for giving way to doubt. Teach us to trust and seek You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You wholeheartedly. Amen.

 

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

 

Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:3-5

The Most Excellent Way

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT)

 

Paul’s prayer for the church of Philippi is timeless throughout the ages. We all need love to abound more and more, in knowledge and understanding, so that we may know the difference between what is important and what is not, granting us wisdom to walk in His way and do His will until we meet Him face-to-face. Wisdom and guidance are necessary in order to choose the most excellent way of all. There are things that seem good, but I want to choose what is best, according to God. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more in His love, and to grant us wisdom and insight as to what matters most to serve and honor Him.

 

Lord, lead us to pray, The Intended Target in Training

To choose seek Your face;

To show us what’s best,

In light of Your grace.

Grow in us, Your love,

Wisdom and insight;

So we are prepared,

To obey, choose right.

Help us to serve well,

For all of our days;

With love and honor,

May our life bring praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that You grow in us more and more as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You grant us wisdom and insight to know what is best, according to Your good and perfect will. Forgive us for the times that we go our own way, or pursue what seems good, rather than seeking Your wisdom to know what is best and honors You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, ever pursuing the most excellent way in Your love. Show us how to love those around us with wisdom, discernment and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to grow and serve You in love for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Rejoicing Over Rest

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will rest secure. – (Psalm 16:9, NIV)

I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. – (Psalm 16:9, MSG)

This is a good life – my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more? – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

As I woke with my mind leaning toward rest, with a bonus hour and a half of sleep this morning, I determined to see where I was to go with the thought. Yesterday was an extended day, with the intention of making student-led conferences possible for all families. Though a long day, it was good, and the reward that follows is a short day today, and a three-day weekend, providing plenty of opportunity for real rest. The sort of rest that refreshes my soul may not sound restful, but long runs with my best running buddy, time celebrating my best friend’s birthday, loads of family time, and time with my church family, are all blessings that await me this weekend and make my heart glad. Knowing that rest is coming provides room to remember all of the reasons that I am grateful for the good that God has granted. May we take time to find joy in the little things, the sweet blessings He bestows upon us through the people He has placed in our lives.

 

My heart will find joy,img_2018-11-09_06-09-462423785359695814316.jpg

And my body rest;

Who could ask for more,

As my life is blessed.

Blessed well with people,

To walk along side;

Who listen and love,

In whom I confide.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

Who grants us each rest,

The good things we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your rest that restores our joy and reminds us of what matters most. Forgive us for not seeking You when we are weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need and are the joy within us, no matter what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and provides rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for providing the rest we need when we need it most. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Faithful Love Never Ends

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 107:1, NLT) 

Say thank you to the Lord for being so good, for always being so loving and kind. – (Psalm 107:1, TLB) 

Let everyone give all their praise and thanks to the Lord! Here’s why – He’s better than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, He’s always loving and kind, and His faithful love never ends. – (Psalm 107:1, TPT) 

 

This is a month where society floods us with messages of “love”. For some of us, it is a seemingly sweet sentiment, as we are in a good space, and know and appreciate that we are loved well. However, there are others who are in spaces of mourning, either for the love they have lost, or the love than is yet to be. The challenge in either space is to keep a proper perspective toward the love that matters most. God’s love has always been and will always be, and is not dependent on our feelings nor performance. No matter what sort of relationships we are in, our relationship with God ought to come first. When we love God and know His love well, we are equipped to give and receive love in a way that is lasting. May we rise up and give thanks to the Lord for His good, faithful and lasting love and receive what He gives, so that we can go and give in the same way. 

 

All thanks be to God, Love Made Known

For goodness and love; 

He’s always faithful, 

To help from above. 

He gives us kindness, 

For all of our days; 

Love overflowing, 

He’s present always. 

No matter status, 

Together, alone; 

When we go with God, 

Our heart’s always home. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that when we are single, You fill the places in our hearts that lack. Thank You that when You bring love to us, You show us Your heart for us in new ways through the other person. Thank You that in all things, You are loving and kind. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see things go our way, rather than trusting You and Your perfect timing. Teach us to trust You in the waiting. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may gain glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all our days for Your faithful love that never ends. Amen. 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Praise as Majesty Moves

Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough? – (Psalm 106:2, NLT)

No one can describe how great the Lord really is. No one can praise Him enough. – (Psalm 106:2, ERV)

 

Keeping proper perspective in the constant chaos that so often accompanies this time of year is critical. Though all of the activities and festivities are fabulous, that which matters most is our intentional pause to remember the reason for the season. There were a myriad of miracles that took place surrounding the arrival of Christ. A virgin birth, a bright star to show the way, numerous angelic visitations, shepherds serenaded and informed by heavenly hosts, wise men traveling from distant lands to bring gifts, and the list continues… God is so much more than a baby in a manger. That baby grew and healed the downtrodden, the outcast, the sinner and the sick, so that all might come to know Him. More than that, He bore the weight of all of our sin so that we could be in relationship with Him forever. There are not enough words, and not enough time to offer Him the praise He is due. The best that we can do is honor Him with our words and deeds, and extend love and life in tangible and practical ways to those around us. May we seek to honor the Lord in all that we do, so that our very lives are an expression of praise unto Him.

 

Who could ever list,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

The glories of God?

For His miracles,

Too vast and too broad.

Who could offer praise,

That would be enough?

The greatness of God,

Whose love covers us.

So let us go forth,

May our lives bring praise;

As we recognize,

The Ancient of Days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your miracles are far too numerous for us to list, and the praise You deserve extends far beyond what we could ever offer. Thank You that You love us where we are, and lead us where we are meant to go. Forgive us for not slowing down in the chaos of the season to really fix our eyes and hearts on You. Teach us to intentionally focus our gaze on You in all things and at all times, so that we may recognize Your miraculous in the everyday, and offer You praise through how we walk out our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that glorifies You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your majesty on the move, and give You praise for all of our days. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Believe Instead of Striving

Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the One He sent.” – (John 6:29, ERV)

God wants us to trust and believe in His one and only Son with all that we are, rather than complete some check list of accomplishments. When we are fully invested in faith in Christ, we are compelled to love and serve as He did. Our motivation for what we do, matters. If we are working to somehow try to earn God’s favor, we are toiling in vain. Anything God wants accomplished, He can do with a thought or a word. His ways are so much higher than our ways. However, if we believe in Him with our whole being, and love Him with all that we are, we cannot help but long to serve Him and do whatever He calls us to do. Acting in love is a far different scenario than obligation or fear. May we rise up and take inventory of what we are doing today. If our to do list is merely to appease or earn favor, let our hearts be changed so that we are motivated purely by His love, and a heart to serve Him and all whom He has created.

O Lord make my heart,Believe Instead of Striving

prepared to serve;

not to please others,

of love undeserved.

For what matters most,

is in Whom I trust;

hope everlasting,

in Christ is a must.

Show us the way, Lord,

to fully invest;

our hearts unto You,

in the way that’s best.

From that space of faith,

teach us to love well;

so others may know,

Your grace for themselves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You want from us is our whole heart – our trust and our belief. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make Yourself tangible and approachable, to a world lost and desperately in need of Your grace. Thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves, and raise us up to who You call us to be, if we choose to seek and trust in You. Forgive us for our attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in You. Teach us to trust in You, and allow You to do the transforming of us, so that we can go forth and be used by You to touch lives and transform communities. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe with all that we are, in the One You sent. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6