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

Love Covers

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)

One who seeks love conceals an offense, but one who repeats it divides friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, CEB)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Choosing to love and forgive when others hurt or offend us through their mistakes, preserves the friendship. Sometimes love needs to talk to the offender, however repeating what transpired to others only deepens the divide. If we do not walk in love with those around us, we will be hurt and offended often. We must assume positive intent, and go directly and gently to the source when we cannot clarify without conversation. Loving relationships last because love seeks to understand, rather than holding the offense and discussing it with others. Sometimes, wise counsel is needed to understand. In such cases, it is a confidential working through what transpired with the intent to make reparations, rather than being bent on returning harm. There are times when what has developed has destroyed trust and created a need for safe distance, yet even then, our charge is to walk in forgiveness and not speak ill of the one who has done harm. May we ever seek the heart of God, who in His very nature, loves and forgives us, so that we too may go forth in love and forgiveness, giving thanks for the gift of others whom He has placed in our lives.

 

Let love lead the way,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

No matter what comes;

Seek to understand,

Like the Holy One.

For the Lord forgives,

Though it’s undeserved;

Such love leads to change,

And friendships preserved.

Don’t speak ill of those,

Who’ve made a mistake;

Choose love as they learn,

Preventing heartache.

For we too will fail,

Do things that cause hurt;

As we receive grace,

Love makes us alert.

Alert to others,

With grace to forgive;

Let’s love as we’re loved,

In His peace we’ll live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that gives grace and forgiveness when we fall short. Thank You that we are called to love in the same way, as no relationship would last without grace. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the harm caused by the words or deeds of others. Teach us to rely on You to give us Your grace to love through the hurt. Show us how to walk in love in a way that seeks to understand, forgive and love well, without conditions. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your forgiveness and grace, seeking to understand rather that holding onto hurts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we overlook the mistakes of others with love, knowing that all fall short and need grace. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Walking in Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

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. – (2 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. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

 

Love is a choice that we have to make, day in and day out. It is not dependent on feelings or actions done for or against us, but rather a decision to love others as we are loved by God. He is patient and kind with us. God is not easily angered by our short-comings, and He does not keep a record of our wrongs. When we ask for forgiveness, it is done. If we are to act in the same way, we must have an “otherly” outlook. Choosing to be patient and kind, even when we aren’t feeling it, is being intentional to love. We are not meant to envy others, but rather to celebrate their blessings beside them. Everything good that comes our way is a blessing bestowed upon us, not something to boast about. If we keep score when others hurt us, we are not walking in forgiveness. Yes, we must be wise and not remain in circumstances where there is intentional repeated offense against us, but neither are we to keep stewing on hurts. Our charge is to love and forgive, in the same way we are loved and forgiven by Christ. May we ever look to the Lord to lift us up, so that we may choose to love others in the same way that we are loved by Him.

 

Keep not a record,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Of others offense;

Instead choose to love,

When love makes no sense.

For the love of God,

Is patient and kind;

We are not worthy,

Of His love defined.

Love’s not dependent,

On what we choose do;

A beautiful gift,

Where He makes us new.

Called to do likewise,

To love anyway;

Forgive grievances,

Choose love each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are a work in progress. Thank You that You love us through our highs and lows, good and bad, and You teach us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have been rude or proud, impatient or unkind, or held onto an offense against us that You intended for us to release. Show us how to walk in love, in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to walk away. Teach us to trust You more, as You are love defined. Lead us to love those around us with kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love others in the same way that You so faithfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

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

The Wisdom of Grace

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. – (Proverbs 19:11, NLT)

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. – (Proverbs 19:11, MSG)

A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense. – (Proverbs 19:11, TPT)

 

Wisdom is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Patience prevails and mercy will not fail when dealing with those who have done wrong. Though there is a time and a place for correction, or at least making known the offense, there too are times when it is best that we simply forgive and move forward, allowing grace to cover what the words or deeds were lacking. May we continually seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we will know how to demonstrate patience and hold our tongue when it is best for us to overlook an offense.

 

Wisdom is made clear, Ambassadors of Love

When mercy is shown;

Offense forgiven,

Makes God’s goodness known.

For we are not called,

To judge each other;

But rather to love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us to be slow,

To respond to hurt;

For grace extended,

Demonstrates true worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us despite our propensity to offend and insult You with our words and deeds, each time we act or respond out of anything other than love. Thank You that You do not withhold Your goodness and grace based on how we come before You. Forgive us for denying grace and forgiveness to others when we have felt insulted, offended or wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond with Your wisdom that extends love and overlooks offenses. Show us how to love and give grace to those who offend us most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize and receive Your grace through us. Be glorified O God, due to our decisions to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. – Luke 2:40

May We Be Unoffendable

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NLT)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

Because we are loved by God, we ought to go and love likewise. In order to love as He loves us, we must show mercy to others, extend kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and be unoffendable in our patience with others. Each of these are clear, and are relatively simple to do, until they are not. Our mercy, compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience often come to a crashing halt if we are offended by another. Rather than recognize that we are all humans that fall short and fail, it becomes personal and bitterness attempts to creep in. When this occurs, I have to stop and think about how offensive I must be to God at times, and yet, He still loves me the same. It is because of His mercy and kindness, patience and gentleness with me, that I eventually recognize the ridiculousness in my own sensitivity to offense. There are times that safety and security dictate that we distance ourselves from one who offends, however, if we cling to the offense rather than He who grants us grace, the wrong will lead to our ruin. May we ever seek our Savior who has called us His own and lavishes us in His love, so that we may go forth and extend mercy as we seek to understand, be compassionate, show kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and be patient with others, not allowing offenses to limit how we choose to love.

 

We have been chosen,

May We Be Unoffendable

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Beloved of God;

To go forth in love,

As by faith, we trod.

Be clothed in mercy,

Extend kindness too;

Humble and gentle,

As He is with you.

Let not offenses,

Take patience away;

But rather seek Him,

To love and give grace.

May we see clearly,

How well He loves us;

So we do likewise,

By His grace choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose us and You love us without limits. Thank You that You are not offended by our faults and failures, but rather You love us to life again. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for allowing offenses to limit our love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in forgiveness and grace, ever extending mercy, compassion and patience as we humbly seek to understand others with kindness. Show us how to love like this so that many will recognize You heart within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the mercy and grace that You give to us in love and lead us to rely on You to go forth and do likewise. 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

Love Prospers Through Forgiveness

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten onto a slight and – goodbye friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE)

 

I have seen both sides of the truth in these wise words that Solomon recorded. Friends who forgive, foster even closer friendships, but those who choose to dwell on something hurtful, end up losing the friendship altogether. There are times when it is necessary to forgive and walk away, but typically, hurtful things can be discussed and worked through, rather than allowing them to drive a wedge between people who are close. Most often, the offense is a misunderstanding or a misstep that was done with good, not malicious intent. Seeking to understand is always the best mode of operation, rather than harboring bitterness and cutting ties. Sadly, it takes investment from both sides, and if only one half of the equation is willing to work to make amends, then the friendship still ends up lost. May we each offer forgiveness for the faults of others, as we have been forgiven so much.

 

Where we choose forgive,Faith and Hope in Action

The heart of love grows;

Grace that is offered,

Makes God’s true love show.

When we dwell on hurts,

Close bonds are destroyed;

Fixing on our hurts,

Is poison employed.

Let love be fostered,

As we choose forgive;

Love well each other,

In this life we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love and forgive, but You have shown us these very acts employed, over and over again. Thank You that You continue to love and forgive us for our faults, as not one of us can navigate this life without mistakes and missteps. Forgive us for dwelling on offenses, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to forgive faults and foster love, rather than repeatedly recall offenses and birth bitterness. Show us how to love as we are loved, forgiving those who offend us as we choose extend Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know Your forgiveness and the depth of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we forgive offenses and choose to love well. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Search for the Why

Today’s reading was found in Numbers 22:21-33. This passage tells the story of Balaam and his donkey as they are on their way to a Moabite town with Moabite officials. Balaam’s journey was not pleasing to the Lord. Three times, an angel of the Lord stood in the path of Balaam on his donkey, and blocked the way. Though Balaam could not see him, the donkey certainly could. In fear, the donkey turned away, held back and finally laid down, refusing to go forward each time the angel appeared. Unfortunately, Balaam could not see the angel, and chose to beat the donkey each time it refused to move forward. Finally, after the third time, God opened the mouth of the donkey and gave it the ability to speak. The donkey asked what it had done to deserve the beatings, and Balaam was concerned only that the donkey had made him appear a fool. What really stood out to me this morning, was the donkey’s reply to Balaam’s rant about being made appear a fool.

 

“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life, have I ever done anything like this before?” – (Numbers 22:30)

 

When those around us do things that are out of character, it is better to ask why, than to get angry or upset at the abrupt change. Most of the time, when people operate outside of their norm, there is a reason. It is almost always in response to something. If it is to hurt, how can we help? If it is to fear, how can we reassure or heed the warning? May we be sensitive to those around us, taking note of attitudes, actions or words that wander from their normal mode of operation. Lord, lead us to be sensitive to Your voice as we listen to those around us, so that we may identify the why when something is awry.

 

When words are like weapons,

Equipped for Desert Seasons

Where never before;

It’s our job to find out,

Discover the sore.

For panic or wounding,

Great heartache or fear;

Each one can be reason,

To ask and draw near.

Let Balaam’s example,

Be warning to us;

Sometimes the uncommon,

Is help from Jesus.

Lord, make our hearts tender,

Ready to give ear;

Help us see through Your eyes,

So all becomes clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You show us things through Your eyes, and give us Your heart for those around us. Forgive us for getting angry or upset when those around us operate outside of their normal mode of operation. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might patiently and lovingly pursue answers as to why someone is “off” rather than be bothered by it. Help us to love others well, just as You so patiently and extravagantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand when things are awry, rather than respond as the recipients of offense. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Exaltation in Everything

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – (Acts 16:25) Their choice to persevere, even in the face of difficulty, opposition and discouragement, ultimately led to the salvation of the jailer and his entire household.

 

As we act in obedience to the Lord, people take notice. Some may take offense. Others may even oppose us, creating difficulty and becoming a discouragement. However, there are others still, who observe what we do in spite of difficulty. They are acutely aware of our faithfulness in the face of adversity, and begin to ask questions. Those very questions are the same sort that lead the jailer and his household into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Regardless of what obstacles or challenges come our way, may we maintain an attitude as Paul and Silas did – hearts that pray and sing praise, in spite of what we face.

 

May we choose to pray,Exaltation in Everything

and sing songs of praise;

no matter what comes,

for all of our days.

The choice that we choose,

is noticed and seen;

we are a witness,

to our God unseen.

In opposition,

challenge and trial;

let us still seek Him,

His peace is worthwhile.

May our place of hope,

be clearly displayed;

for in Christ alone,

there shall be a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, how You love and encourage and remain present, even in the face of difficulties. Thank You that though You do not remove all trials and obstacles, You remain present, and You use our experiences to strengthen us and to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our shortsightedness, and help us to recognize that You will use all things for Your ultimate good, in due time, if only we trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the throes of adversity. Grant us strength to persevere, so that we may praise You in spite of what we are going through. May many come to know the glorious gift that You are, as we trust You in the trials. Help us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere with praise. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Our Righteous Judge

Scornful looks, unkind words – judgments passed, despite the deliberate instructions that we have been given to not judge one another. You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. – (Romans 2:1) Often the very thing that we want to judge in another, is something we dislike in ourselves.

 

Additionally, we will be judged as we judge, and forgiven as we forgive. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2) We must separate the sin from the sinner, and recognize our own propensity for the very same. If we are meant to approach the individual as one who comes along side them to help them escape, it must be done in humility, kindness, and love, extending forgiveness and grace, just as we too, have been granted forgiveness and grace from our Heavenly Father.

 

When an offense,Our Righteous Judge

does happen to you;

how will you respond?

What will you do?

Will you speak out,

with angry retort;

or trust in the Lord,

seek His support?

Though each offense,

hurts our very soul;

we have to trust God,

to make us whole.

When we lash out,

more damage is done;

we get in the way,

of true freedom.

Trust in the Lord,

no matter what comes;

He shall grant wisdom,

His will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Righteous Judge, and that we do not need to fill that role. Thank You that though we are hurt and offended by people, we need not lash out nor pronounce judgment upon them. Thank You that Your grace is far greater than our own, and the very thing that offends us in others, is often that which bothers us most in ourselves. Forgive us for passing judgment on others, and help us to greet everyone with grace and Your love. May each of us come to a place of repentance as You show us the error in our ways, and grant us the grace we need to grow closer in our walk with You. Let those who are looking find a forever faith in You. Teach us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You all of our days. 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