Words to Heal

The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, HCSB)

Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, ERV)

A word of encouragement heals the one who receives it, but a deceitful word breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, VOICE)

There is something to be said about encouraging words. They truly give life in the midst of difficulty, especially when the one who extends encouragement is genuine. Conversely, devious or deceitful words can be devastating. As an educator, I am witness to both types of communication. Far too often, kids are speaking crushing words to one another. Intentionally, I choose to speak encouragement at every opportunity possible, as my hope is to combat the negative messages they are receiving. The thing is, words have the power to bring life or destruction to all of us. I imagine we all can recall the way words have impacted us. Even if I do not recall the specific things that those who have spoken life-giving words to me said when I needed it most, I do remember how their kindness made me feel. My hope is that I can extend the same to the people whom God places along my path. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to offer encouragement to those around us that is life-giving. 

O Lord, help us speak,

Though I have no recollection of what he said, it is clear how his words made me feel.

Encouraging words;

Words that offer life,

That love may be heard.

Please silence the thoughts,

That need not a voice;

Words that would bring harm,

Let love be our choice.

Lead us in Your love,

To speak as You would;

To lift, encourage,

Choose highlight the good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that words have the power to encourage and build up. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us words to speak and eyes to see where it is needed most. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken words that have done harm. Show us how to silence the words that wield wounds, and to speak the healing words that You place on our hearts to encourage those around us. Lead us to love people as You do, and use our words to bring light and life and joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us ways to offer encouragement and speak life into the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63 (Jesus was our ultimate example of life-giving words)

Desire and Strength to Do Good

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. – (Philippians 2:13, HCSB)

Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases Him, and He gives you the power to do it. – (Philippians 2:13, ERV)

God is energizing you so that you will desire to do what always pleases Him. – (Philippians 2:13, VOICE)

When we seek the Lord and invest our hearts and lives in knowing Him more, He empowers us to both want to do His will and He grants us what we need to follow through. We are all a work in progress and the process transpires throughout our lifetime. The more we walk with Him, the more aware we become of what He wants for us, and the greater our desire to do what He wants us to do. Despite our own shortcomings and weaknesses, His power provides as we abide, and we are granted all that we need to move forward in His strength for His purposes. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him room to move in our hearts and lives so that we have the desire and the strength to do what He is calling us to do.

Ever seek the Lord,

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His strength and His will;

For He is faithful,

With love to fulfill.

He grants us power,

To keep pressing on;

Desire for good,

His love makes us strong.

He shows us His ways,

As we choose to ask;

Equips us with strength,

To complete each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You grant us the desire and strength to rise up and do Your will. Thank You that it is not something that we can try to be and do better, but rather we seek more and more of You, and the outcome is a heart that longs to be who You call us to be. Forgive us for our stubbornness and independence that keep us from relying on You to be our source and supply. Teach us to trust in You, for You are faithful to lead us, guide us, and equip us for each new day. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that You love fuels all to pursue the life that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, guide us, and strengthen us to do Your will throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Speak Truth

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. You must always speak the truth to each other, because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

Initially, my thought was that I do speak truthfully to people. However, upon deeper reflection, sometimes not speaking up is not being honest. Telling others that everything is fine when it is not, is a sort of pretense that puts others off who would otherwise be ready and available to help. What I have discovered this week through one of my worst experiences as an educator, is that my neighbors, my fellow teachers and staff members, as well as many students, are ready to stand up for me, walk beside me, and extend kindness and support where it is needed most. Our connection to each other provides strength and support, for there is far more strength when we are connected than when we stand alone. I have been blessed to teach with incredible humans throughout the twenty-six years of my teaching career thus far. Numerous staff and students have come through our school community and left their beautiful imprints on my heart. Perhaps this is why I have stayed so long. Even on the toughest days, there are people who are near, who come alongside, and stand together, united in purpose. God is so gracious and kind. He shows us more of who He is and how He loves through the people He places alongside us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to speak truth, and to be honest about how we are and what we need. He is good, and He provides as we abide.

Choose to speak the truth,

What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are not nearly as important as who is beside us…

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place us in communities that have the capacity to work together, support each other, and thrive, rather than merely survive. Forgive us for the times that we have not been honest about how we are doing or what we truly need. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, and to share our struggles and triumphs with those whom You have placed beside us. Show us how to support, strengthen and encourage those around us in Your unwavering love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the people whom You have placed in the communities we are in, and for the ways that we can stand together, united in purpose and in love. Amen.

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

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

Immeasurably More

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us – to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, HCSB)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, VOICE)

Paul, the author of Ephesians, understood the incredible power of God’s work in us and His ability to do far more than we could ask or imagine. With all that Paul saw, experienced, and was a part of, he grasped God’s power working in and through him and gave God all the glory. God took a man who had been fervently working to persecute and even kill people and turned Paul into a man who sought to save people by His loving kindness and grace that was made evident through His Son, Jesus. The very same power that was at work in Paul’s life is available and working in ours as we ask. God knows our hopes, dreams and desires, and can do abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. His design may not look the way we would envision, but ultimately, it is so much more. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and move in and through us, and give Him all the glory forever and ever.

The love of the Lord,

Is power and truth;

Beyond what we think,

And what we can do.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope from our despair;

God can do much more,

He knows all our cares.

God grants us His strength,

When ours is but gone;

Hope everlasting,

May we pass it on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to do so much more in us and through us than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that Your strength empowers us and Your love leads us as we choose to follow after You. Forgive us for the times that we have either gone our own way or have neglected to give You glory for all that You have done. Teach us to seek You and see Your hand in all things. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they are strengthened in Your loving kindness and recognize Your goodness all around. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what only You can do, and give You the glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

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

God will… bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3a

Wise Words Heal

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

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

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

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

May we ever speak,

With wisdom and grace;

Let each word help heal,

Throughout all our days.

If words are unkind,

Intended for harm;

May they fall silent,

Lord, help us discern.

Show us in wisdom,

Lead us with Your grace;

Teach us to love well,

Throughout each new day.

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

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

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

Clearly Seen

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, HCSB)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence elightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and the ignorant claims of these people. – (Romans 1:20, VOICE)

The more of the world I have the opportunity to see, the more that this verse makes perfect sense. To see the beauty, creativity and diversity of the earth and all that is in it, testifies clearly that there is a power far higher than us. Each day is a new sunrise, and each evening a new sunset. Everything in between is full of color and life and light, and the bookend times are a new painting at dawn and dusk. On our most recent adventure, God’s evidence was everywhere. I loved waking each morning to hurry to the balcony to see just what colors would appear in the sunrise. Each day was different. The various colors of the ocean and the incredible diversity of life that live in it also testify to a loving and creative God. This morning, as I look ahead to the day, I recognize all God’s hands have made, and the beauty of people and places that I will encounter. May we have eyes to see the beauty all around us, and the wisdom to give thanks where all praise is due.

O God, we praise You,

For all You have made;

The sun, moon and stars,

That light up our way.

Mountains and valleys,

Oceans to small streams;

All of creation,

And all the unseen.

How could we question,

Your goodness and grace?

For all creation,

Make plain You’re the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everywhere we look there is evidence of Your goodness and power. Thank You that the more we see, the more we recognize who You are and how great Your love. Forgive us for not taking the time to recognize and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Teach us to take it all in and to be overwhelmed with awe and gratitude. Show us how to care well for all of Your creation, and how to love those whom You place on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we stand in awe, with hearts full of praise for all You are and all that You have made. Amen. 

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Prioritizing Passover

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “God and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.” – (Luke 22:8, HCSB)

Jesus said to Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us to eat.” – (Luke 22:8, ERV)

Jesus chose Peter and John and gave them instructions. Jesus said, “Go and make the necessary preparations for the Passover meal so we can eat together.” – (Luke 22:8, VOICE)

Jesus, knowing what He would soon endure, made sharing a meal together with those closest to Him a priority. It is yet another reminder of how Jesus prioritizes people and values relationships. He gathered with His disciples and gave them insight about what was soon to follow. In God’s divine design, He has made us the same way. With those whom we are closest to, we share meals together. Additionally, it is typically over a meal that we share our news, be it celebratory or struggles. As we look ahead to both tomorrow, when Jesus endured the cross, and to Sunday, the day He rose from the grave, may we give thanks to Him for the priority He placed upon people and the incredible act of love that He endured so that we could share at His table one day too.

The Passover meal,

Though somber in tone;

God’s goodness given,

As His love was shown.

A space to prepare,

Friends for what’s ahead;

To show them His love,

As He humbly led.

From washing their feet,

To sharing a meal;

His loving kindness,

Showed His love was real.

As we all gather,

May we choose love well;

Extend His goodness,

For love conquered hell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us the depth and power of Your unending love. Thank You that love is practical and tangible, and that it can be shown through something as simple as sharing a meal together. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You, and did not make people our priority. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might experience the loving kindness and goodness that Your grace offers. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to the last supper and all that You shared before You endured such suffering on our behalf, and praise You for the overwhelming, overcoming power that Your love holds. Amen.

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

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:20

Move With Compassion

“Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him. – (Matthew 20:33-34, HCSB)

They answered, “Lord, we want to be able to see.” Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. He touched their eyes, and immediately they were able to see. Then they became followers of Jesus. – (Matthew 20:33-34, ERV)

They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!” Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession. – (Matthew 20:33-34, MSG)

Jesus modeled a life of kindness and compassion. When two blind men called out to Him, He heard their cry, listened to their request, and then healed them. Though we do not have the ability to reach out and heal people, we can look upon others with compassion and do what we can with what we have. Sometimes, the need is simply to be heard. A kind, listening heart can change a person’s day for the better. So often, something as simple as a smile, a nod of encouragement, or words that extend life through goodness and grace, reset or realign a heart that was not in a good space. May we ever seek the Lord to meet our needs, and call on Him as we recognize that He is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

O Lord, You are good,

Beyond what we see;

Your light, life and hope,

Provide what we need.

All praise unto You,

For love that is more;

It supplies for all,

You open new doors.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your love and grace;

Full of compassion,

As we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the power of Your love, compassion and kindness as we seek You. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love and compassion for us as we seek You. Teach us to trust in Your faithfulness, and show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Help us to remember the power that compassion has as we extend to others what You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Whispers of Spring

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

It is a season where everyone could use more hope, joy and peace. It feels as though we have just labored through the longest winter, and spring is whispering early signs of its arrival. God’s hope is the very thing that grants us peace and fills us with joy. As we seek Him, hope rises. The more we give God room to fill us, the more His hope overflows within us and spreads to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to infuse our lives with an abundance of His joy and peace throughout every time and circumstance so that His hope will overflow from our hearts. May His loving kindness spring up in and through us and be a blessing to those around us.

O Lord, be our hope,

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The Source of all good;

Where joy and peace rise,

True love’s understood.

Lord, help faith remain,

In good times and bad;

For joy comes from You,

Where true peace is had.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that by faith, You are our hope and the Source of our joy and peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to meet us and fill us to overflowing. Forgive us for relying on our own strength to struggle through seasons of struggle rather than turning to You in trust. Teach us to pursue Your heart, help and presence in all things, for You are faithful to meet us each time we call on You. Lead us to love as You love each of us so that we may pour out goodness and grace from the overflow of the joy and peace You plant deep within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your unending faithfulness that grows joy deep within us and brings peace, even in places it does not make sense. Amen.

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

Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone. – Psalm 33:22

Provision

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

(We pray) that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

This morning, as I was reading my devotions, my phone began buzzing beside me. When I realized what was happening, I quickly slid the bar to access the video chat that was coming in. My dear friend was calling from Burundi. She knows that I am an early riser, so I will happily chat in the wee hours of the morning when it is well into the afternoon there. Anyway, seeing the joy on her and her husband’s faces after more than fourteen months apart, waiting, showed me a tangible example of just how prayers such as Colossians 1:11 apply. The two of them have been surrounded and covered in prayer, and have been patiently enduring the wait, and continuing to communicate, trust and wait with joy. Because of Covid, the spousal visa that should have taken a week or two, has taken well over a year. They have reached the home stretch of the wait, but have to continue to endure until the interview appointment is scheduled and done. Thankfully, the visa has been approved, and it is just one more step before they are at long last together for good. May we ever lift each other up in prayer, for strength, endurance, patience and joy. God is good, and His love endures through all things.

Patient endurance,

A gift from the Lord;

Joy in the waiting,

All grace God affords.

When we turn to Him,

His love leads us through;

Strength to press forward,

Into what is new.

All thanks be to God,

For goodness and joy;

May we turn to Him,

As love He employs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and keep us in Your loving care as we face challenges and endure hardships that require seasons of waiting. Thank You that You provide joy, despite our circumstances. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith when seasons seem far longer than anticipated. Teach us to trust and give thanks to You, for even in our challenges, You are near to love, strengthen and equip us with all that we need. Show us how to love those around us with joy and grace, so that Your goodness may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your provision in all situations and circumstances. Amen.

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

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Matthew 6:33