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

Lead with Listening

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)

 

Listening is an art form that can prevent misunderstanding and bring people closer together. Too often we speak to respond, rather than listen to understand and reply only if necessary. Anger flares and brash words are spoken when we communicate to make our own point, opinion or agenda heard, without taking pause to listen to others around us. I find that the majority of the time, my anger ignites when I jump to conclusions or explain a scenario in my own mind, rather than seeking to listen to whomever did, whatever it was, that incited my frustration to the point of anger. Each time I slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself to listen with the intent to understand, I discover that there is a reason for the words or actions that transpired. By hearing the heart behind the person, anger or frustration fade, and compassion and kindness begin to rise. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and willingness to listen first, so that our response is a reflection of His heart, rather than a rash reaction that is not necessary to bring resolution.

 

Let us each choose first,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To listen in love;

Seek to understand,

With grace from above.

If we’re slow to speak,

There’s less to regret;

Peace has a true chance,

God’s love, our asset.

Allow not anger,

To rise and release;

Instead, choose listen,

Discernment brings peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people who seek listen to understand, speak with intention and grace, and to keep anger in check to prevent words or deeds that cannot be taken back. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our ego or agenda to cause us to assume ill intent in anger, rather than listening with intention to understand all that is involved in what has transpired before us. Teach us to listen first, seeking to understand, so that if and when we respond, it may be done with love and grace. Show us how to love well through listening to those who need to be heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the God who always hears our heart, regardless of what our words or deeds seem to indicate. Be glorified O God, through our decision to listen first and speak with godly intent, only when we understand, keeping anger in check and love abundant. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

An Empowered Life Through Love

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s kingdom is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Our actions have a far greater and longer lasting impact than anything that we say. The charge that we have been given is to love God and love people, according to His good and perfect will. When we choose to live out our faith through all that we do, we are able to make the Lord’s love evident. However, if all that we do is say what we believe, but do not put it into action, the impact is non-existent. In the same way, if we tell those we love that we love them, but do not demonstrate our love through the things that we do, the words have no meaning nor lasting impact. On the other hand, those who serve and honor, uphold and provide, show again and again the power of God in their lives, even if the words are seldom spoken. A favorite quote of mine that aligns well with this verse, is: “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.” – (St. Francis AssissiMay our actions provide the powerful proof of God’s love in our lives as we reach out to love, honor and serve those around us.

 

May the love of God,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be made evident;

Through all that we do,

Kindness, heaven sent.

His love’s best made known,

Through things that we do;

Each act done in love,

Grants God’s light shine through.

So, let us choose show,

God’s love in our lives;

As we act in love,

Helping others thrive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is not merely spoken to us, but rather it is made evident through actions. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our actions have not aligned with Your will, or our words were empty and without action. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be people empowered by Your love to go forth and do the same. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your heart in the things that we do. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and give feet to our faith through loving actions. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others. Mercy will be given to them. – (Matthew 5:7, ERV)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourselves cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

As a teacher, extending mercy is a necessary part of my job. Often, the extension of a listening ear after an offense, provides opportunity to redirect with kindness and compassion, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that may feel warranted. Last semester, I had a few challenging classes. One class in particular, was especially trying most days. Each day, I chose to start fresh, and hoped for better than the day prior. I wish I could say it all ended up “roses”, but until the final day, it was a struggle that required His strength. This week has marked the beginning of a new semester and new groups of students. My new classes have a very different feel than the last, and I am encouraged as I enjoy the new. That being said, two of my most difficult students last semester, have made a point to come say hello on the way to their final class of the day each day this week. They come to my door, where I greet students as they arrive, look longingly into my classroom, and tell me that they miss my class. I am fairly certain that the blessing in hearing from these cherubs, comes as a result of them knowing that I cared, despite their struggle to behave. God is merciful to us. We have been given grace and forgiveness that we do not deserve. As we are called to do likewise, may we fix our eyes and hearts on Him. Blessings come in curious ways when we choose to extend mercy.

 

Great blessings belong, Shackles No More

To the merciful;

For we’ve been given,

God’s grace, plentiful.

Favor unfounded,

No punishment due;

May we too extend,

Mercy that makes new.

New to discover,

The right way to go;

Blessings uncovered,

As forgiveness grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of mercy that Your pour out to us, as You forgive and teach us the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy where we should. Give us Your eyes to see and Your heart to understand, so that we will be merciful as You are to us. Show us how to love those around us through mishaps and shortcomings, and teach us what mercy ought to look like in the circumstances we encounter each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to extend mercy in the same way that You so generously grant mercy to us. Amen.

 

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

Do not withhold Your mercy from me, Lord; may Your love and faithfulness always protect me. – Psalm 40:11

Generate Good Growth

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

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)

So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

 

Peace is a place within ourselves where we feel at ease, despite what surrounds us. Another sort of peace is that which is discovered as people choose to prefer one another and give grace to each other, making peace possible in spaces where we gather and dwell together – be it at home, school, work, church, or out and about in the community. Encouragement and kindness do not require like-mindedness. It is entirely possible (and necessary) to bring peace into places where individuals of great diversity dwell. There need not be common faith, political views, nor upbringing to listen and care for the community around us. Each person has purpose and something to offer, and when we recognize and value one another, peace and mutual edification soon follow. May we do whatever we can to help each other grow, as we pursue peace in the places where we are planted.

 

O Lord help us be, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Instruments of peace;

Who encourage well,

Set people at ease.

For we are not called,

To argue and fight;

But to be at peace,

And walk in Your light.

Teach us, dear Jesus,

To bring about peace;

To love as You love,

And Your grace increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be at peace with one another and to encourage each other. Forgive us for the times that we have been at odds with others, or have chosen to use words that tore down, rather than built up. Teach us to turn to You to lead us and guide us in what we say and do to promote peace in all the places we have been planted. Show us how to love those around us with encouragement that generates good growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and wisdom to walk in peace and wield words of encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Worth the Wait

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for He will never disappoint you! – (Psalm 27:14, TPT)

 

Waiting is one of the most challenging things that humans are called to do. Strength and courage are necessary to be upheld as we stand by in hope for what is yet to come. Without the Lord’s grace and strength and courage, it would be seemingly impossible to hold-up for that which has not yet happened. I imagine that whomever originally spoke (or penned) the words, “Good things come to those who wait,” had experienced the joy that arrives when hope long awaited is at last realized. God is good, and He has good things in store for us. Often, we have to walk through trials or seasons of waiting before we discover the blessing that comes when the wait is done. As we choose to patiently trust in the Lord, our hearts are strengthened and we grow in our capacity to hope. The grace and presence of the Lord ultimately lead us to the beautiful blessing He intended all along. May we ever wait patiently for the Lord with courage and strength, for He is faithful, always.

 

With patience, choose wait, Made With Purpose

For the Lord is good;

Faithful to meet us,

Our need understood.

Though the wait may be,

Seemingly too long;

God’s courage and strength,

Will help keep us strong.

So, wait on the Lord,

Trust His love and grace;

Now and forever,

He is worth the wait.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You are faithful to grant us courage and strength as we standby. Thank You that You are good, always. Forgive us for our impatience and our desire to see things done on our timeline rather than Yours. Teach us to trust You and Your timing. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give courage and strength in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your faithfulness, even when we cannot see answers on the horizon. Amen.

 

 

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

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

 

The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

Rest from the Heaviness

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, CEB)

 

It is good to work hard and complete the tasks that lie before us, yet there comes a point when we have to listen to our bodies and choose to slow down and rest. God provides the time and space necessary for us to rest, if we only choose to do so, and He grants us help and hope and relief when all seems too much to slow down. Often the thing that keeps us from resting is a busy mind. When the day is done and we actually lie down to rest, our mind continues to plan, prepare, and ponder ways to accomplish the long list that is yet to be done, further removing the rest that is so desperately needed. Thankfully, true to His word, when we turn our attention to Him, rather than what needs to be done, peace comes and rest enters in. May we ever seek the Lord in our times of weariness, for He is the perfect Provider of the rest our bodies and minds require.

 

Jesus is calling, Rest from the Heaviness

For He says to come;

All who are weary,

Seek the Holy One.

For He grants us rest,

And His perfect peace;

He loves us to life,

Grants heavy relief.

So, let us draw near,

To our God above;

As He grants us rest,

And fills with His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness with our heavy burdens, and You will give us rest. Thank You that Your rest refreshes and provides relief so that we can press on in Your strength. Forgive us for not slowing down to rest, even though it is intended for us all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take time to rest and refresh in You, as You lighten our load and make our burdens bearable. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps shoulder the heavy loads and encourages rest as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and heavy burdened, knowing that You will grant us rest. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

Each One a Part

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV)

All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, ERV)

Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TLB)

You are the body of the Anointed One, and each one of you is a unique and vital part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TPT)

 

In this busy season, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that each of us have a purpose for which we were uniquely designed. As we walk out our days doing the things which we are called and created to do, we are being part of the bigger body of Christ, that would not function as it were meant to if we did not do our part. Though our part may seem insignificant, it is vital to the big picture. Just as a person becomes acutely aware of the absence of the use of a finger due to an injury (though a seemingly small part of the body), we too are noticed if we are not present or able to function as we were designed, regardless of the size of the body to which we belong. May we each remember that we are part of the body of Christ, uniquely designed with a purpose and a place that is needed to help the body function as it is intended.

 

The body of Christ, Love Made Known

Is both vast and wide;

Each person crafted,

With purpose inside.

We’re called to go forth,

And live out our days;

Living our purpose,

As this brings God praise.

And as we do this,

We become as one;

The body of Christ,

Familial union.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and create us to be part of Your body. Thank You that You do not expect us to navigate this life on our own, but rather You surround us by people who have different strengths and giftings so that we can be stronger together in You. Thank You that we are designed to do life together. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do things on our own, or that we do not have anything to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our best self to all that we do, and trust that who You have created us to be is exactly the part of the body that we are meant to bring each day to the community where we are planted. Show us how to love well the people who surround us. Help us to encourage and build up the body as You build up and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part for which we have each been uniquely created and called. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

The Hand that Steadies

I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. – (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

I stay close to You, and You hold me with Your powerful arm. – (Psalm 63:8, ERV)

My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. – (Psalm 63:8, VOICE)

 

Much like a small child who has not quite yet learned to walk on their own, who reaches for the strong hand of a loved one to help steady them and hold them up, we too ought to do likewise with the Lord. Though we no longer need the help of a hand to walk, His nearness and His strength are necessary to navigate the obstacles that rise up before us. Just as a toddler has absolute trust in the hand that holds them, we too need to cling to Christ and trust that He has us in His outstretched hands. His arms are far greater than our adversaries and obstacles. As we stay close to Christ, we become acutely aware of His presence and His provision to persevere in all things and at all times. May we have faith like little children, as we trust completely in the nearness and greatness of our God to whom we cling.

 

I cling to You, Lord, the-hand-that-steadies.png

For Your strength is great;

Your hand holds me up,

Hope to celebrate.

His mighty right hand,

Reaches where we are;

Holds our heaviness,

Grants strength to go far.

No matter what comes,

Have hope and believe;

The depth of His love,

Too much to conceive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cling to You, You hold us up with Your mighty hands. Thank You that we can seek You in all things, and trust You to be our strength, our help and our hope. Forgive us for not coming to You in trust. Teach us to know in our hearts the truth of Your promises for ourselves. Show us how to love others well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You and become aware of Your hands holding us secure. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8