Fend Off Sin and Do Good

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, HCSB)

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV)

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away! – (Psalm 34:14, MSG)

Sometimes doing good is walking away from a fight that is tempting, and choosing to only engage when kindness can be extended. Our charge is to seek peace, not get sucked into petty disputes. The best way to do this is to pursue God and His will. Often, when I begin to get angry or frustrated with someone, God stops me in my tracks and I find myself asking Him to show me His heart for them. What I have discovered each time that I have done so, there is a softening in me toward the other. Usually, I discover that the very behavior that got under my skin, was motivated by their own hurts. Does it make it right? No, but it does provide compassion and the capacity to respond gently with goodness and kindness. This is a lifelong process to pursue, not a one-and-done in a tough space. May we ever seek the Lord to help us stop doing the things we ought not do, and do the good that He calls us into. In the process, may we find His peace and embrace it.

Turn from temptation,

To do what’s not right;

Demean or put down,

Jump into a fight.

Instead, seek the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

Choose extend the good,

That His word decrees.

Embrace the Lord’s peace,

As it enters in;

For as we listen,

We fend away sin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and a promoter of peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us Your heart for others and help us turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. Forgive us for allowing our pride to get the better of us so that we walk into a war that need not be waged. Show us Your heart for those around us so that we might see them through Your eyes. Lead us to extend goodness and kindness to those around us as we embrace Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk away from the sin that attempts to creep in, and lead us to embrace Your peace as we seek You to do the good that we have been called to do. Amen.

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

If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. – Matthew 18:15

Promoting Peace and Building Each Other Up

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

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)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

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

This is important in every aspect of our lives, and we all are an ongoing work in progress. It requires an intentional decision to seek and depend on God to lead us to do and say things that promote peace and build others up. As we do, there is opportunity for faith to be fortified. To do this requires a never-ending cycle of seeking God, listening to Him, and a willingness to be corrected and redirected. Right now, my husband and I are on vacation. We are two very different types of people; though this is good, as it creates balance for both of us, it is an ongoing work to recognize one another’s needs and desires. For me, when I go somewhere new, I want to see and experience everything humanly possible in the short time we are provided. My husband, bless his heart, wants to slow down and simply relax. He is a champion at being willing to go out and explore, and I am learning to slow down and accept the need to rest. It is an ongoing battle, as I don’t want to miss out, yet know that if I just remain present in the moment, there will be peace and both of us will be built up. God is good, and He shows us what we ought to do to promote peace and build one another up. It is our task to listen and follow His lead. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best promote peace and build up those around us.

We’re called to pursue,

That which promotes peace;

Willing compromise,

As grace does increase.

Each time that we choose,

To bless each other;

Both are encouraged,

Sisters and brothers.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love, promote peace;

Build each other up,

As Your love’s increased.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You call us and show us how to promote peace and build each other up in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have either not listened to You or have only sought after our own selfish ambitions. Teach us to be a blessing as we make decisions that promote peace and encourage those around us. Show us how to love and make choices as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in promoting peace and building those around us up in the goodness of Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Belief Makes Right and Confession Saves

One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. – (Romans 10:10, HCSB)

Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in Him, and so we are saved. – (Romans 10:10, ERV)

Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. – (Romans 10:10, VOICE)

I am so thankful that it is our belief and trust in God that makes us right with Him, and our expression of this belief that saves us, rather than some sort of performance rating that has to be earned. As we trust in the Lord, we desire to do what pleases Him. That being said, we all fall short. Thankfully, it is not about what we do or don’t do to earn His grace, but rather He freely gives, and because of it, we rise. May we ever seek to know God more so that we might trust Him more deeply and confess our faith more freely. 

With hearts we believe,

That God is what’s true;

Faithful confession,

Salvation ensues.

It is by His grace,

That we are made right;

And because of this,

In Him we delight.

The more we pursue,

The more we can see;

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Hope eternally.

To choose to have faith,

Trust what we can’t see;

Leads to evidence,

He shows tangibly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You and profess that You are Lord, we receive Your grace and gain the hope of eternity. Thank You that though we cannot see You, it is not blind faith. Thank You that there is evidence of who You are and how You love all around us, if only we open our eyes to see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Thank You that You are not offended by our questions. Show us more and more of who You are and how You love, so that we may represent Your love well to those around us. Teach us how to love everyone whom we encounter as You would. Give us Your goodness and grace to share. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all that we are and confess aloud our love and trust in You, our hope forever. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Look to the Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, ERV)

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, MSG)

This passage is from when God called Samuel to go and anoint the one who was to succeed Saul as king. To the ordinary observer, David’s older brothers seemed to be far more appropriate candidates. However, God saw so much more. In David, God saw a man after His own heart. David had the heart of a warrior and a worshiper – both of which God used while David grew and learned the faithfulness of God as he faced a giant with a sling and a stone, and later led a nation as he sang and danced praising God for His faithfulness. Incredibly, what this shows us is that we never know who God is raising up for great things. Our task is to love and encourage all, and to look past appearances and instead see the heart. I know in relationships, the people I am most drawn to have beautiful hearts. The more I get to know them, the more I see who they are radiating through, and recognize what draws others in. As a teacher, this is critical. We never know who the next leaders, doctors, pastors, educators, community advocates, parents and more are in the ones seated in our classrooms. Each has been created with a purpose, and it is our job to help strengthen the heart so that they can see their own potential and pursue all that God has for them. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see, so that we may encourage those around us in the strengths that they have been given, and glorify God for His goodness.

Look not at the face,

But rather the heart;

The true character,

Where seeing must start.

For we never know,

All that God has planned;

Purpose He has placed,

In women and men.

A mere shepherd boy,

Was anointed king;

Despite appearance,

Beyond what was seen.

God looks at our hearts,

The strengths found within;

His plan and purpose,

Waiting to begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see beyond what others see. Thank You that You look to the heart to lead us into all that You have for us. Forgive us for selling others short based on what we see. Teach us to look through Your lens so that we see the potential and promise in everyone we meet. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen each in the gifts and talents You have placed in them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and trust in You to lead them to walk out their purpose. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to help us see others as You do. Amen.

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

The One who chose you will do that for you. You can trust Him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Ever Growing Understanding

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude. – (Colossians 2:6-7, HCSB)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. – (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)

When we give our lives to Christ and invite Him to live in us, we need to continue to pursue an ever growing understanding of who He is and how He loves. As we do, His Spirit in us, shows us what is good and true and how to love as He loves us. The more we grow in our understanding, the more our gratitude grows until we can no longer contain it. May we ever seek to follow and grow in the Lord, ever giving thanks to He who gives us life and love, hope and help.

We are reminded,

To trust in the Lord;

Never stop learning,

To walk in accord.

He’ll lead and guide us,

In how we should go;

He blesses, keeps us,

As in Him we grow.

Insight increases,

And so does our praise;

Love everlasting,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You increase our understanding of who You are and how You love. Thank You that as our insight grows, so too does our gratitude. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek, or have withheld the praise that rises up. Teach us to trust in You and give You all thanks and praise for the good all around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May it ever increase. Lord, lead many to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and praise You for Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

Rest in Hope

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul waits quietly for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

Some mornings, the distractions around me make quiet rest seem impossible. However, as I choose to stay calm and pursue the space I need to seek Him, calm comes close and my heart can hear hope with each new breath. When we are intentional to rest in Him, we are reminded of who God is and how He loves, as He fills us with fresh hope again. In the chaos that spring days can bring, hope is needed to navigate. May we find rest in God, and embrace the grace that He provides to strengthen our hope in Him.

Lord, settle my soul,

As I turn to You;

In quiet, I wait,

As I read Your truth.

You show me that hope,

Is found in the space;

Where we choose to seek,

Your goodness and grace.

Our strength comes from You,

When we seek, we find;

Just how near You are,

And Your love is kind.

Help us find quiet,

Throughout each new day;

As hope is restored,

And love leads the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that rest and hope come from You. Thank You that You speak to our hearts in the stillness as we seek You, and You fill us with Your hope and love. Forgive us for the times that we allow the noise and distractions to keep us from pressing into You. Teach us to rest in You as You fill and restore hope within us. Lead us to love those around us well. May they find the hope that is held in You alone and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and hold fast to the hope we have in You. Amen.

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

I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – Psalm 119:147

Encourage and Promote Peace

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

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)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

This is such a powerful reminder, as we are meant to encourage and build one another up, no matter how we are feeling. It is not about how we feel, but rather about what we are called to do and who we are created to be. To live out this life with purpose, we must be bearers of peace and people who encourage those around us. Yes, there is a time for correction and redirection, but love must be the center of all we do. If someone who has my trust and has clearly established that they are for me and not against me, I am receptive to what they say if I have said or done something that was not aligned with love. It requires courage and intention to live in relationships like this, but our investments in one another are always worthwhile. May we ever pursue the Lord to lead us in living a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters.

May we seek pursue,

A life that gives peace;

Build each other up,

As love does increase.

For we have been made,

To love each other;

Encourage, lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

So, let us choose love,

In all that we do;

Be bearers of peace,

Encourage in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring peace and encourage each other. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives that do exactly that. Forgive us for the times that we have not brought peace or have not been an encouragement where it was needed. Teach us to rely on You to lead us well. Show us how to bring peace to places where it is absent, and to encourage hearts that need lifting up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading so that we can be bearers of peace and encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

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

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

We Were the One

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” – (Luke 15:4, HCSB)

“Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep.  You will continue to search for it until you find it.” – (Luke 15:4, ERV)

“Wouldn’t every single one of you, if you have 100 sheep and lose one, leave the 99 in their grazing lands and go out searching for the lost sheep until you find it?” – (Luke 15:4, VOICE)

Jesus views us in the same way. Each of His kids is of infinite worth, and He passionately pursues us when we have gone astray or have become lost. His heart is ever for us, to protect us and love us well. Additionally, I am certain it is why He places us in community. When we are invested and engaged with others, we are less likely to become lost or wander off on our own. Together, we have each other to help us remain engaged and accountable to be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Shepherd who loves each of us so much that He would relentlessly pursue us if we became lost. 

The Lord’s our shepherd,

Watching over us;

In love, He protects,

Our faithful Jesus.

If we go astray,

He’ll ever pursue;

The heart of the lost,

To cleanse and renew.

For in Him is grace,

Forever, He’s good;

He helps us see Him,

Makes love understood.

Each day we draw breath,

He’s present to care;

He loves with His life,

He’s ever aware.

He knows when we’re near,

Or if we are lost;

His heart beats for us,

Made clear at the cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You pursue us when we are lost or have gone astray. Thank You that You know and see us individually, and care about every detail of our lives. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You don’t, or for not recognizing how deeply You love us all. Teach us to see every single person we encounter as one whom You would leave all to pursue and bring safely into Your care. Show us how to love everyone as You do, so that those who are hurting, struggling, or wandering aimlessly would be pursued as the “One” with Your love and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for pursuing us when we were the “One”, and for placing us in community to keep us from wandering. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Effort to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, HCSB)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

If we all sought God to grow His blessings in us, we would abound in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and strengthens us to rise up in these blessings He instills in us. It is up to us to pursue God and grant Him access to our heart, soul and mind so that we become more of who He has made us to be. This is not a one-time thing, but rather a life-long process. The people I know who best exemplify these things are those who continually and faithfully pursue the Lord each new day. May we ever go to God each new day that we draw breath to lead and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

The Lord is faithful,

To refine each heart;

That earnestly seeks,

His grace He imparts.

True faith will rise up,

As His goodness grows;

Knowledge imparted,

Love grants self-control.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Let Love lead the way,

Choose answer the call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You refine and grow us to be more like You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Teach us to ever pursue Your heart to extend to the world. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your heart may be made tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and change us to be more like You each new day. Amen.

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

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Love in All

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, HCSB)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

We are called and commanded to love because God is love. Incredibly, we are created to love, and each of us give and receive love differently. No matter how we best express love, He sees and receives what we offer. If we were to love God with our whole heart and soul, every word we say, every decision we make, and every action we take would be unto Him. Learning to love God completely is a lifelong process. In the same way that we grow to love those around us more as we are intentional to spend time and invest in relationships, the same is true with God. The more we know Him, the more deeply we love Him and want Him to be a part of everything we say and do. May we continually pursue the Lord in love, so that we grow to love as we were created to love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all that we do;

May our hearts align,

So we honor You.

With all of our heart,

And all of our soul;

With all of our strength,

Lifelong love, the goal.

For how You love us,

Lead us to love too;

With all that we are,

Give praise unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that the more we get to know You, the greater our love grows for You and for all those You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for staying stagnant rather than continually seeking to grow. Teach us to lean into all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to learn to love You more in every area of our lives. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3