Answer Gently

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 a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

Think About Each Other

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, HCSB)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

If we take our eyes off of ourselves and take a look around us, it is easy to see the need for love, kindness and good deeds all around us. I know for me, when I am the recipient of such, I am inspired to go and do likewise. The status quo gets disrupted in the very best way, I am compelled to do differently. May we each be concerned about those around us – our family, our friends, our colleagues, and each individual we encounter in a day, to look for ways to encourage and make the day a bit brighter. Sometimes, it is as simple as extending a smile or kind word. Lord, help us to be ever listening to Your leading so that we might encourage each other and make Your goodness known.

Lord, help us to look,

Fill one another’s cup.

To see all around;

The need of others,

Let Your good be found.

Show us through Your eyes,

How each person’s seen;

Lead us in Your love,

Be encouraging.

Bring the good to mind,

That will bless, build up;

The goodness and love,

That will fill each cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to care well for one another. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this for us. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated care, concern and encouragement in countless ways. From touching the untouchable, to feeding those who were hungry, You lived and loved in practical and tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to trust in You and to listen in every situation and circumstance. Show us Your heart for each person we encounter and lead us to love and encourage as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for ways to love, encourage and do good for those around us. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Stand Firm

So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stand firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

We are called to stand firm and be strong in who God has called us to be, and in what He calls us to do. No matter how seen or behind the scenes it is, God will use what we offer in love. Everything matters, from the smallest act of kindness to the greatest sacrifice, all is used for good when the heart behind it is for God. May we ever stay firmly planted in the good that God calls us to do, and trust that He is working, even when we cannot see the evidence of an impact. 

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that we are all uniquely designed with different talents and gifts to share. Thank You that every act of kindness matters. Forgive us for thinking that our choice to love does not matter and for the times that we have neglected to act in love. Teach us to stand firm in You at all times and in every circumstance. Lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in Your love and Your purposes for us. Amen.

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

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Incredible Faithfulness

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough – because there was no room for them at the lodging place. – (Luke 2:6-7, HCSB)

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the newborn baby in strips of cloth, and Mary and Joseph laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village. – (Luke 2:6-7, TPT)

I can’t help but think of Mary and her trust in God as she traveled far from home, very pregnant, knowing that she was likely to give birth while in Bethlehem. Alone in a cave where animals were kept, she and Joseph had to navigate the birth of this promised, blessed baby, in less than ideal conditions. Though a young girl, unmarried and in a seemingly compromised position, she and Joseph delivered the precious baby and wrapped Him in what they had and improvised to provide a safe space for Him to sleep. Imagine both the joy and sorrow as they welcomed Jesus into the world. Joy in the promise fulfilled as they held their firstborn son, yet sorrow in their solitude. No family surrounding them, despite the fact that the family had to have been in Bethlehem too for the census. What is spoken between the lines is the weight they bore and the trust they had in God and His promises. If God can help two young people navigate a lack of space to bring the Savior of the World to the earth, how much more can He help us through whatever challenges we face? God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was faithful then, He is faithful now, and His faithfulness will not end. May we pause and ponder in awe and wonder as we consider the love and grace granted as Mary and Joseph successfully navigated the seemingly impossible. 

A woman ready,

To bring forth a son;

No place to give birth,

To the Holy One.

A lowly stable,

A cave in the earth;

With only creatures,

To witness the birth.

No bells or whistles,

To welcome the Son;

A quiet stable,

When the day was done.

It did not end there,

For God had much more;

To show they were seen,

And praise the Adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You for sending Your Son in such humble beginnings as You show us Your incredible faithfulness through Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our fear to trust, for You are the very meaning of trustworthy. Teach us to lean into You in the spaces that seem impossible or overwhelming, for You are so much greater than all that we face. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this Christmas season. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your unending faithfulness and remember the ways that You have provided again and again and again. Amen.

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

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds. – Psalm 36:5

By Faith

By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible. – (Hebrews 11:3, HCSB)

Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by His command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, ERV)

Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinated by the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, TPT)

Currently, my love and I are in a connect group through church that is studying Hebrews. Last night as we met and discussed Hebrews 11, I was reminded again of the vastness of God. God, whom we cannot yet see, created all that we can see. His power, love, grace and goodness can be witnessed through all that is created that surrounds us. It is through the glimpses of God that we are given by people and creation around us, that we lay hold of faith in Him who we cannot see. The more that we learn to trust in the One whom we cannot see, the more tangible the invisible becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith as we continue to pursue the path that He has placed us upon. Let His love be made evident through our trust and reliance in Him.

By faith we can see,

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The beauty and grace;

All that’s created,

Through God’s loving ways.

The sky, land and sea,

Show us God’s great love;

Purposeful design,

By Him up above.

The invisible,

Can somehow be seen;

Love made tangible,

Through things in between.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can see evidence of Your goodness and love everywhere we look. Thank You that these things, and so much more, cause faith to rise up in what cannot be seen. Forgive us for the times that we have forgotten how You can take even the smallest glimmer of faith and grow it into something great. Teach us to seek You and trust in You, for You grow our faith through our understanding and experiences of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love in such a way that though invisible, love may be made tangible to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to grow our faith, for it is by faith that mountains move and lives are changed. Amen.

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

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

Let Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. – (Hebrews 13:1, HCSB)

Continue to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called to love one another. This love ought to be as sisters and brothers, for such love is patient and kind and does not end. I love how God shows us examples and illustrations of what He desires for us through everyday experiences around us. In our home, we have two dogs that are still in the puppy phase. They are three months apart and have gone through some growing pains as they have learned to get along. The two of them are rough and tumble and love to wrestle and play chase. At times, it sounds like they are going to throttle each other, but then moments later they are laying side by side or nose-to-nose, completely content in each other’s presence. They are fiercely protective of one another, and are unsettled when the other is not nearby. When on walks, Thor, our 95-pound Lab, moves to the outside so that Tali, our 70-pound Pittie who is fearful and reactive to cars, feels safe and will keep walking. How this translates as humans is the recognition of one another’s needs and the desire to care for and protect each other. Love is made tangible through the little things that we do to show one another that we are seen, known, and cared for. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us and direct us in how to love one another best, as we are called to do.

Lord, show us Your love,

So we use it well;

Lead us and guide us,

Let our actions tell.

Tell of Your goodness,

In love, extend grace;

Brothers and sisters,

With care choose embrace.

God show us today,

How to love like You;

All those around us,

So Your love rings true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love each other as brothers and sisters. Thank You that such love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Forgive us for the times that our attitude or actions toward one another have been lacking love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our Source and Supply that knows no end. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love one another with a love that knows no end. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7

Given to the Seeking

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

When we pursue the heart and will of God for our lives, He provides all that we need. In times that I have worried about a lack, God has provided. In seasons that I have had more than enough, He has shown me how to utilize the abundance for blessing. God is faithful to meet us where we are and provide all we need as we seek to walk in His will. Though in this passage Jesus was speaking about physical needs being met, He is faithful to meet our spiritual and emotional needs as well. The Lord supplies strength when we are weary, hope when we feel lost, and peace when chaos seems to reign. It is in the seeking that we truly find, and in the pursuit of doing right by God that we discover all that we need is faithfully provided. May we ever seek the Lord and His will for our lives, for it is in our pursuit of His path that we find there He is present to help and supply what we need.

In seeking the Lord,

Is where we shall find;

God’s ways are perfect,

And His love is kind.

He makes clear a path,

For us to move on;

Grants us what we need,

And makes our hearts strong.

Each need that we have,

Is seen and is known;

By grace the Lord gives,

As His love is shown.

Strength when we’re weary,

Supply in our lack;

Peace in our chaos,

Hope to stay on track.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need as we faithfully seek You and Your will for our lives. Thank You that You show us the ways in which we are meant to go, and You remain present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear a foothold based solely on what we could see, rather than trust You and all that You do in the unseen. Teach us to trust You more, as we discover the abundant and unending faithfulness that is forever found in You. Show us how to lavishly love those around us, so each may be encouraged and built up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue Your heart and will for how we walk out each day. Amen.

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

So I say to you: 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. – Luke 11:9-10

To Carry and Sustain Us

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

Even as you grow old and your hair turns gray, I’ll keep carrying you! I am your Maker and your Caregiver. I will carry you and be your Savior. – (Isaiah 46:4, TPT)

I don’t think of myself as old, yet white hairs keep peeking through. In this current season, I know my own need to be sustained, and at times, carried. Understanding that God will sustain me, even so, provides hope and endurance when weariness sets in. We have not yet had a full five-day week of school, and already it feels as if we have been back for months. Perhaps it is the masks and extra safety measures, or just the extra energy and excitement of the kids to be back around their friends, but either way, it is exhausting. God is good, and I know that He holds me in His hands. Today, I will continue to trust and rely on Him, and give thanks that we have reached Friday. May we ever hold fast to the promises of God, and trust that He will continue to carry and sustain us through every season as it comes.

God’s promises true,

With each passing year;

His strength and His help,

Remain ever near.

When moving forward,

Is too hard to do;

His love lifts us up,

And carries us through.

Lord, help us recall,

And trust in Your word;

You help forever,

As love’s seen and heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise to be present to help, strengthen and sustain us throughout our whole life. Thank You that You are good, even when we are weary. Forgive us for our frustrations with what is beyond our control. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to carry us when we feel like we cannot continue. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they are strengthened to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our strength in all things and at all times. Be glorified O God, as we cling to Your promises of care in our weariness, and praise You for carrying us in our exhaustion. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Called to Be Kind

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

We are called to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other, in the same way that God is unto us. Our decision to extend grace and goodness to those around us speaks the heart of God without words. Kindness and compassion are more easily extended when we recognize both how much has been given to us by God, and the incredible weight that is removed when we are fully aware of the forgiveness and grace that we are afforded by and through God. I know that I need all of these things every single day. Each morning, I set my heart on the Lord and seek Him, yet throughout the day, challenges and obstacles come that require dependence on God to navigate with kindness and compassion, and the strength to choose to forgive. There is a constant battle between human nature and the divine. God is gracious and full of love, and will supply all that we need to walk in His way if we choose to depend on Him. May we ever seek our Savior, who forgives and loves us beyond what we can comprehend, and allow Him to lead us and guide us in His everlasting love.

Let kindness and grace,

Help us choose forgive;

To love as God loves,

Each day that we live.

For it is by grace,

That the Lord does save;

Imagine the world,

If we gave the same.

We’ve been created,

To love like the Lord;

So His heart is seen,

As good is outpoured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your goodness and grace, and You forgive us each time that we ask. Thank You that Your love changes our hearts and empowers us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have reacted rather than sought to respond like You. Teach us to slow down, breathe deep, and allow Your love to flow through us to all. Show us how to extend forgiveness, kindness and compassion to all, so that Your love may be evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to soften our hearts and lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Qualities Clearly Seen

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that the people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

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)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

I am fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Any direction I drive, there is incredible evidence of God’s power and creativity. From the majestic mountains that surround the Puget Sound, to the towering Evergreen trees that line roads wherever I go, I cannot deny the power and majesty of all that His hands have created. The very same God who hand-crafted such beauty, formed everything and everyone that draws breath. To look in the face of others, is to witness the handiwork of God. Knowing that is the very beginning of walking the way that we are called to walk. If we see and recognize the beauty and value in all that God has made, we cannot help but want to love as He loves us. May we take pause and breathe in the goodness of all that God’s hands have made, and give thanks to the One who created it all. Let us look to Him to lead us to love well.

The truth is made plain,

Through all that we see;

All things formed by love,

Intentionally.

The powerful hands,

That made mountains rise;

Gave each creature life,

From earth to the skies.

Show us how to love,

Appropriately;

So Your love’s made known,

Through all that is seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of creation sings of Your glory through its mere existence. Thank You that You are the same God who called mountains to rise and the very One who grants us life and breath and love. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the obvious evidence of Your power and love. Teach us to recognize the beauty in all whom we encounter, and show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that Your hands have made that clearly show us Your love and power that is present all around us. Amen. 

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17