Tenderness Tapers Tempers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Sunrise to Sunset

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the Name of the Lord is to be praised. – (Psalm 113:3, NIV)

From sunrise-brilliance to sunset-beauty, lift up His praise from dawn to dusk! – (Psalm 113:3, TPT)

At every time and in every place – from the moment the sun rises to the moment the sun sets – may the Name of the Eternal be high in the hearts of His people. – (Psalm 113:3, VOICE)

As one who typically rises before the sun, I am blessed with the daily reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of God as I watch darkness become light. There is a holiness in the witnessing of the sunrise and sunset, for it is a mighty example of God’s creativity and handiwork in action. In the same way that God is faithful to cause the sun to rise and set each day, He too, is faithful to love and be near us. It is because of His great faithfulness that God deserves all of our praise. Every breath, each new day dawning, we are granted reminders of His goodness and faithfulness. May we ever recognize how great God is and give Him all of our praise.

Every new day,

At dawn’s early light;

God shows His power,

Colors to delight.

Just as He’s faithful,

With the rising sun;

His presence promised,

‘Til each day is done.

Wherever we are,

From east to the west;

God will be with us,

As He loves us best.

So, rise up and praise,

The God of all grace;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are with us from sunrise to sunset, and that You will be with us wherever we go. Forgive us for faltering faith. Teach us to recognize You goodness and grace that is all around us, so that we forever praise You as we should. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and presence abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You from the rising to the setting of the sun for how You love and all You have done. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

What is Really Wanted

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, NIV)

Now, Israelites, listen! What does the Lord your God really want from you? The Lord your God wants you to respect Him and do what He says. He wants you to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, ERV)

So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in His presence in holy reverence, follow the road He sets out for you, love Him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, MSG)

Though these were things asked of Israel as they were in the desert, preparing to move toward the promised land, these are still the same things that God asks of us today. To love and respect the Lord and to serve Him, is the gist of what Jesus told us the commands of God meant. We are called to love God and love people. If we truly love, we will respect, honor, and serve with all that we are. This applies to every aspect of our lives. To love God means to love His creation as well. Everyone we see, and all those whom we encounter, are created and loved by God. As we love God wholeheartedly and seek to do His will, He grows in us the desire to love others as He loves us. May we ever pursue the Lord and His path for our lives, so that we learn to love Him and all people as He intended.

Long gone are the days,

Of Levitical law;

Instead we’re to love,

And of God, stand in awe.

For God has made us,

To give and receive love;

And walk in His ways,

Choose seek the Lord above.

For the more we seek,

We forever shall find;

The ways we’re to walk,

And the grace to be kind.

Lord, help us rise up,

To love all others well;

You are the reason,

That in love we may dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan and purpose for us has always been to be in a loving relationship with You and all those around us. Thank You that You show us and lead us in the love we are meant to give. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and deeds have not aligned with loving You and loving those whom You have placed on our path. Teach us to love, honor and serve You with our whole heart, so that we may grow in love and grace to love well, all those around us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our heart, soul, and mind into loving You and all those whom we meet. Amen.

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

Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31

Timeless Faithfulness

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – (Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

Lord, You are my God. I honor You and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonderful marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

The faithfulness of God is timeless. All of creation announces His love as He has done, does, and will continue to do wonderful things. What was planned in the beginning, He faithfully fulfills. God, who in His infinite wisdom and love, created each of us with a plan and a purpose. As we follow Him, we see His kindness and grace through the outpouring of His love, as He leads us to walk out all that He has prepared for us. I know it seems like the wonderful things are far off when obstacles come our way, but if we slow down, take a deep breath, and truly take inventory, the visibility of His incredible blessings are abundantly clear. In the darkest times, His light remains, for if we open our eyes we are genuinely able to see. May we ever lift up praise to He who carries out the wonderful and beautiful in each of our lives.

Lord, I will praise You,

For all of my days;

Your tender mercies,

Lead us in Your ways.

Thank You for kindness,

When hope’s feeling gone;

You bless us and keep us,

Help us carry on.

Your word is the truth,

Faithful without end;

No matter what comes,

Love and strength You send.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God and that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You for what You promise, as You fulfill. Forgive our fears and frustrations when we cannot see the beauty that is going to come from our ashes. Teach us to trust You and praise You, even in the storms. Show us how to love those around us well, so that hope and faith rise up, no matter how things appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love so well. Amen.

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

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Grace Exemplified

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

This beautifully describes the plight of people. Failure is a reality in our broken humanity. However, Asaph reminds us that despite our failings and shortcomings, God will be our Source of strength to protect and empower us all the days of our lives. As we choose to trust in the Lord, His presence becomes the strength of our heart and leads us to move forward as we are called. We cannot control exhaustion or illness, but we can seek Him to strengthen and heal us. When we fail and fall short, God is present to pick us up, dust us off, and take our hand to lead us back in the direction we were always meant to go. May we ever pursue the Lord and allow Him to be our strength, for He is what we need to navigate each day best.

The Lord knows I fail,

Grow weak and fall short;

Yet as I place trust,

He gives strength, support.

In love, He lifts up,

My head, hand and heart;

Forgives and restores,

Again grants fresh start.

Forever He’ll be,

Our Source and Supply;

The strength to rise up,

Grace exemplified.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fail and fall short, You are ever near to forgive and strengthen us to get back up and try again. Thank You that Your loving kindness lasts forever. Forgive us for our failings, falters, and foolishness. Teach us to lean into You to lead and guide us in the ways that we ought to go. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and support to keep moving forward in the direction they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our source and our strength no matter what state we find ourselves in. Amen.

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

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

No Separation From Love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, NIV)

Can anything separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or problems or persecution separate us from His love? If we have no food or clothes or face danger or even death, will that separate us from His love? But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown His love for us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, ERV)

Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish His love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love. Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! – (Romans 8:35, 37, TPT)

This is our reminder of just how powerful the love of God truly is. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love. When we go through struggles and trials and hardships of every kind, He is with us, loving us through. In our weakness, God is our strength. In our heartache, He is our comfort. No matter what we face or what comes our way, God will be present and loving us through. Often, it is difficult to recognize, yet if we open our eyes and our heart, His loving presence becomes clear. Beyond God’s presence, He grants us His wisdom and strength so that we may see victory, even when all seems to point to defeat. May we ever hold onto the promises of God’s word, and trust in He who is greater than every trial that we face; for in His love, we are able to navigate every struggle that happens upon our path.

There’s nothing on earth,

That ever can come;

Between the Lord’s love,

The battle’s been won.

He already knows,

The giants we’ll face;

In love, He will give,

Love, peace, strength and grace.

So, let us rise up,

Choose to trust in Him;

His love leads the way,

Strength granted within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that no matter what struggle or hardship or trial we face, You are present to help and love us through. Forgive us for the times that we doubt the depth of Your love or are blinded by what lies before us instead of looking up to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and goodness in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the tremendous power of Your unending love to lead us through all that comes our way. Amen.

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

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Done to Others is Done Unto You

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for my people here, you also did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these, My little ones, My true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, TPT)

This ought to be our motivation. Whenever we love others, we are also demonstrating our love for God. Every single time we love, help, encourage, lift up, show kindness, give grace – God sees it as if we were doing these very things unto Him. What this shows us is how deeply God loves all of His creation. Our closest comparison is how we feel when others extend kindness, grace, generosity, encouragement, and more to one whom we love deeply. I know for me, when someone does these things for one of my children, I am blessed as well. My heart swells with gratitude, simply knowing that another sees and values my child like I do. Imagine the depth of what God feels in comparison. God who loved so deeply that He sent His Son to reestablish a right relationship with us, recognizes every act of kindness and extension of love as words and deeds given directly to Him. For me, that both defines and dictates how I ought to treat everyone I meet. Do I have it down to a science? Of course not. I fall short and fail daily, yet can always seek to do and be better. God, in His loving kindness, hears our petitions presented before Him, and honors our desire to love well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and equip us to love as He loves us.

Whatever we do,

In word, thought or deed;

We do unto God,

Let’s follow His lead.

The God of all grace,

Does all things in love;

May we love like Him,

Give good from above.

For each time we choose,

To help each other;

We live with purpose,

Sisters and brothers.

The times that we fail,

Neglect or ignore;

It too is to God,

Things that He abhors.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love well, each other;

Choose extend Your love,

One to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love us. Thank You that as we do, You recognize our love extended to those around us as love for You. Forgive us for the times that we have been unloving or callous or have neglected to reach out where we knew You called us to love. Teach us to trust and follow Your lead as we aspire to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit the width, depth and breadth of Your everlasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reach out to love like You. Amen.

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

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Sing in the Strength He Supplies

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

There are days when this resonates a little more clearly than others. Each morning as I rise before the sun, I am intentional to seek and spend time with our Savior. Small things can distract my attention, and I have to choose to focus on Him and time in His word. As I do, He is faithful to show me His loving kindness anew, and there is not a day that I seek Him that I do not find Him. I cannot even begin to count the numerous times that He has been my place of safety and my defender when troubles have come. In all things, He remains faithful to be present and pour out His goodness and love. It does not mean that all is easy and without obstacles, rather in those obstacles I have a guide to lead me through. For this, and so many other things, I have reason to hold songs of praise in my heart, celebrating His strength when I had none, and His presence when I felt alone. May we ever remember who is our source of strength and mercy and goodness, as we call on Christ to be our place of safety in every storm.

O Lord each new day,

May I rise and sing;

Of goodness and strength,

The hope that You bring.

Teach me to see You,

With each rising sun;

Give thanks unto You,

Our strong Holy One.

Thank You for safety,

That is held in You;

For Your sweet presence,

That carries us through.

Help songs to rise up,

Flood my mind and heart;

With praise unto You,

Gratitude impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to sing, as You are our source of strength and our space of safety. Forgive us for not giving praise where praise is due, and for forgetting how powerful Your presence is to strengthen and uphold us. Teach us to trust in You through every season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that supply strength and hope and resolve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find shelter in the safety of Your love and sing praise to You for each new day we are granted. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9