Discipline Brings Delight

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. – (Proverbs 29:17, NIV)

Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did – they’ll turn out delightful to live with. – (Proverbs 29:17, MSG)

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make our heart glad. – (Proverbs 29:17, NLT)

 

Discipline is such an interesting word, as it can carry such a vast array of experiences for people. For some, discipline equals correction and redirection done in love, much the way God intended, yet for others, that is not at all the case. For me, as a parent, it has been a necessity to correct and redirect to lead my boys in the direction that they are meant to go, in love with much patience. Now that they are eighteen, they do indeed (and always have) bring me delight and make my heart glad. It is an interesting road to navigate with discipline for a young puppy. We are in uncharted territory, and learning as we go. Puppy teeth are sharp, and the desire to chew is strong within them. This morning brought demand for creative “discipline”, as my feet and clothing cannot withstand the ongoing puppy attacks. After countless firm “No” responses, physical removal from the space by my feet, and then offering things that are appropriate to chew any time he comes near my toes, I had to figure something out. I went to the kitchen, grabbed the cayenne pepper, and sprinkled some on the top of each sock and rubbed it in. Innocently, I went and sat down. As expected, Thor pounced at my feet. He paused, sniffed, licked a sock and the zoomed around the room, not quite sure what to do with himself. Needless to say, he hasn’t come after my feet again since. He also settled back down and was able to lay beside me so that I could focus and do this. 😊 For the preservation of both my feet and my clothing, discipline is required. Thor is a delight already in how much he loves people, and being trained will bring a lifetime of gladness and peace of mind. I wonder if that is how God sees us? In the same way we take delight in our children (or fur babies) following the direction that we have given, I imagine He too, delights in our obedience to His leading. May we seek the Lord with open hearts, ready to hear and obey, so that we may bring delight as we walk in His way.

 

May we learn with grace, wp-15879966650772618150238741232455.jpg

To guide well in love;

Correct, redirect,

Like God up above.

Let love lead the way,

As we teach with grace;

What is right and good,

For those that we raise.

Help us also heed,

What You’re teaching us;

So that You delight,

As we choose kindness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You ask us to lead in love in the same way that You lead us. Thank You that You correct, redirect, and show us what is good and what You have for us, any time we are willing to seek You and listen. Forgive us for the times that we have either ignored or resented Your discipline. Teach us to trust You more, as You correct and redirect so that we can be the very best version of ourselves. Show us how to discipline well, all those whom we are called to lead in love. May many come into lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we heed Your discipline for us and seek to discipline in love, those whom You have given us charge over. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is kind to His followers as a father is to his children. – Psalm 103:13

Search to Show

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

God is faithful to show us our anxious ways if we are actively pursuing Him. For me, it seems that the time I am most able to recognize or perhaps, best able to hear, is when sleep is disrupted by dreams that relate to real life, or while I prepare for the day and do not yet have the distractions of a typical day’s busy routine. Although the idea of having our every thought examined can be a bit intimidating, knowing that God does not using it to condemn us, but rather to lead us away from painful paths and back to His ways that are right and everlasting, are well worth the discomfort. May we ever invite the Lord to search, test, redirect and lead us; for His ways bring light, life and love forever.

 

Search my mind, O God, given-to-show-goodness

Examine my heart;

Take the anxiousness,

Show me a fresh start.

Please lead me away,

From paths that are wrong;

And show me the way,

To follow, be strong.

For where You lead, Lord,

Forever is good;

Bring peace to my mind,

As love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and invite You in, You show us the things that get in the way of us fully knowing all that You have for us. Forgive us for allowing anxiousness and distractions to get in the way of the path You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You, know You, and follow wherever You lead. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point them to Your path of perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, redirect us and lead us in the ways that You have lovingly prepared for us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – Psalm 139:1

Heart Change

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. – (Joel 2:13, NLT)

Tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive. – (Joel 2:13, CEB)

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath and puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. – (Joel 2:13, MSG)

 

When we stray from the path that God has placed before us, He wants a heart change that leads us back to where we were meant to go. God is patient and kind, merciful and loving; ready to forgive and redirect our steps when we go astray. Our part is to be tender to His leading, so that our hearts may be changed to more clearly reflect His own. This applies in every area of our lives, as God wants our whole heart, not just a portion. May we seek the Lord with tender hearts, ready to give Him room to move so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

 

God of compassion, Hold My Heart

We bring hearts to You;

Forgive each trespass,

Cleanse and make us new.

In love and kindness,

Lead us in Your way;

Help us extend grace,

And love much the same.

Grant us a clean heart,

That’s ready to serve;

To love as You love,

Mercy undeserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not want external displays of remorse, but rather You desire hearts that turn to You, ready to repent and allow You room to cleanse and renew. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough to earn our way back to grace when we have gone astray. Teach us to come to You with repentant hearts so that we may receive Your forgiveness and experience a true heart change. Show us how to love those around us a way that extends the very same goodness and grace to spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the forgiveness that You so readily offer when we come to You with a repentant heart. Amen.

 

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

 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

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

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Pay Back With Blessing

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God had called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, ERV)

 

We are called to respond in the opposite spirit when we are hurt by the words or actions of another. Though this contradicts the very nature within us, when we choose to bless when we want to curse, extend kindness when we’d rather kick, and offer hope where we’d rather return harm, so often the situation turns around and we are blessed by the outcome. Even when we are not, we can go forward knowing that we have walked in obedience with a clear conscience, rather than agonizing over what we should or should not have said or done. The ultimate outcome is in God’s hands, so we need not worry when blessing seems to do nothing to help. A prime place where this practice plays out in my life is in the classroom. When a student behaves poorly and I try to redirect with kindness and calm, identifying their strengths and abilities, often it is enough to get them to snap out of their funk and return to what is appropriate. We all have days where we choose poorly or are less than kind, and the very things that help us to reset and choose better are the blessings that come through the kindness of those around us. May we ever choose to extend blessings, even to those who wrong us, as God has chosen to give abundant blessings unto us.

 

Don’t repay evil, Aquiring Armor

With more of the same;

Firing back insults,

Or pointing out blame.

Instead, give blessings,

To all whom you meet;

This is our calling,

Mission to complete.

As we choose to bless,

We become blessed too;

Because we’ve obeyed,

As we’re called to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and blessings unto us. Thank You that You direct and instruct us to steer clear of retaliating for the harm that people bring our way, and that instead, You arm us with strength to bless those who insult or do wrong against us. Forgive us for the times that we have repaid wrong with wrong, or returned insults instead of extending blessings. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and heed Your instruction as to how we can bless when we feel wronged, and give grace instead of retaliation. Show us how to love sincerely, even those who insult us or irritate us, as each is Your treasured creation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You to bless those who bring us pain. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Search Us and Know Us

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of life everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

 

Though God already knows our hearts and minds, He is gentle and kind, and will not force His way into our lives. We must invite Him to enter in and be the Lord of all. To truly allow Him to be in charge, we need to grant Him access to all – our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our direction and our needs. As we do, He comes alongside us, and shows us what is not in alignment with Him, and directs us on His perfect path of peace. God’s ways lead to life everlasting, whereas our ways lead only to worry, heartache and our ultimate demise. May we seek the Lord and grant Him access to search us and know us, so that we may be directed along the path to life everlasting in Him.

 

Please search me, O God,Asking for Answers

know my heart and mind;

test me and show me,

anything unkind.

Please point out the things,

offensive to You;

and show me the way,

that I’m meant to choose.

Lead me on Your path,

that‘s righteous and true;

to life eternal,

in heaven with You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we invite You into our hearts and lives, You search us and know us, and show us the way in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You lovingly and gently correct and redirect our course, so that we may stay on the path that leads to life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not granting You access to all, as we allow fear and foolishness to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You always have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, test us and grow us, so that we may be led forever by You. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Deep Love Covers Sin

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

 

When we love deeply, we have a greater capacity to forgive. The greatest example I know of this sort of love in my own life, is the love I have for my children. Though I am flawed and far from perfect, I am loved by God, and love my children with all that I am. When they make mistakes or choose to do foolish or rebellious things, I do not love them any less. In their space of being stuck, I come alongside them and correct or redirect in love, and do not hold their errors against them.

Christ has done so much more for us. Every single sin we’ve ever done is washed away with our acceptance of His love for us. When we choose Him, His love covers all of our sin and shame, and makes us acceptable before the Father. Additionally, He grants us the capacity to love others with His love, so that we too, might forgive others as we have been forgiven. May we go forth and love each other deeply, so that we are willing to forgive one another, just as we have been forgiven. As we choose to do as Christ has done for us, love wins.

 

Most importantly,Acceptance As We Acknowledge

let love lead the way;

with one another,

all of each new day.

For love’s great power,

covers over sin;

it helps us forgive,

it is how love wins.

So let us each choose,

deeply love others;

give grace and forgive,

sisters and brothers.

As we love as Christ,

so many shall see;

what love truly is,

and how to be free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us deeply, and You love for us covers all of our sin as we accept what You have done for us. Thank You that the very same love that You give to us, You place in our hearts to pass on to one another. Forgive us for not loving one another as You designed us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rely on Your loving kindness and grace to cover over the things that we think we are unable to get past. Help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Show us how to love relentlessly and deeply, so that others may come to know Your grace through the You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 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

 

Seeking Solitary Spaces

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. – (Mark 1:35)

Despite the crowds and the chaos that seemed to find and follow Him wherever He would go, Jesus found a way to make time to pray. He established time to connect and communicate with His Father. If Jesus was intentional to create time to connect with God, how much more so should we do the same? In today’s fast-paced world, it is not easy to find a solitary place to pray. We too, must be intentional with our time to make a place in our day for prayer. What I have discovered is that when I consistently make room, I find it is far easier to rise early and be focused than it ought to be, considering the chaos and lack of sleep that occurs some weeks. He is faithful to meet me each morning, as I make the decision to dedicate this solitary time to commune with Him and study His word. I have friends who are faithful to end each day in the same way. Where I would struggle to remain awake, they find themselves energized and encouraged. May we each embrace our own opportunities to seek solitary places to pray. For He is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him.

To seek a safe space,Believe Instead of Striving

where we are alone;

to come before God,

as He’s on His throne.

For in solitude,

our hearts shall be shown;

how great is His grace,

and the depth we’re known.

For as we choose pray,

seeds of faith are sown;

God’s Spirit waters,

and hope will have grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You in solitary places to pray, where distractions are far from us, and You meet us, and speak to our hearts. Thank You that You are faithful and loving, and that You encourage, instruct, redirect, and empower us as we pursue You in prayer. Forgive us for not being intentional to establish time with You. Teach us to trust You more with our time and space, so that we would be willing to do whatever it is You ask to create a time to be with just You. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us. Lead us to love others with a love that embraces hurting hearts and points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek solitary spaces with You to pray, so that we may be equipped to love as You love each day. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Speak Life

In Paul’s letter to Titus, he was providing instruction as to how to lead people to live right, according to Christ. Titus 3:2 is a timely reminder, in light of all that has been going on in the world around us. Despite differing opinions, God still reigns, and we have been given the following instructions: Tell them not to speak evil of anyone but to live in peace with others. They should be gentle and polite to everyone. – (Titus 3:2, ERV) Paul further unpacks the reminder that not one of us has earned our good standing before God. Rather, we were made right with God by His grace. God saved us so that we could be His children and look forward to receiving life that never ends. – (Titus 3:7, ERV)

 

It is by God’s grace that we have been saved. Our charge, as His children, is to love God and love people. We will not always agree with every decision or lifestyle that is chosen, yet that is not our charge. We are called to love. If we speak evil of those who know Him not, how will they ever have any desire to draw near? When we are gentle and kind, extending love and grace to others, just as it has been given unto us, it is then that people may see Christ in and through us. Yes, we are called to come alongside and help correct and redirect those within the church who are walking in blatant sin, but not those who know Him not. May we choose to live in peace with one another, extending gentleness and grace to everyone, so that all may come to know the lavish love of the Lord.

 

Speak not unkindly,Bloom Where We're Planted

and choose be at peace;

be gentle to all,

let grace be released.

For we were all made,

right before the Lord;

because of His grace,

in love, He affords.

Share well His kindness,

extend too, His love;

so all may soon know,

the gift from above.

Be humble to all,

slander not ever;

let His love light shine,

now and forever.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not called to judge, slander or speak evil of others, but rather You call us to love. Thank You that You grant us discernment to know what is right and wrong, so that we may lead our lives in obedience to You, personally. Forgive us for not being peaceable or considerate, or for speaking ill of anyone based on the choices that they have made – for we all have sinned and fallen short of Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love without limits and allow You to work in the hearts of those around us. May many receive Your glorious gift of grace that You give freely, as they choose enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we choose to live and love peaceably with kindness, offering Your love and grace to all. 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