The Power of Our Words

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, NIV) 

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

Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, TPT) 

I have been the recipient and deliverer of both reckless and wise words. With each incident of recklessness, words brought harm to both the messenger and the audience. For the speaker, it either tarnishes the reputation or incites guilt at the realization of what words escaped without thinking; sometimes, it does both. However, when words are thoughtfully spoken in love, healing, help, encouragement and good are the result. Wisdom with words comes from listening and seeking to understand, prior to speaking. The ultimate healing wisdom is granted as we seek the Lord and His heart for the recipient of our words. May we ever listen to understand and seek the Lord for wisdom with our words. Let wisdom be sought and shared, and reckless responses be silenced before they are spoken. 

May each word we speak, 

Be laden in love; 

Righteous responses, 

From God up above.  

Let words without thought, 

Be silenced, not heard; 

So all that we speak, 

Be God’s loving words. 

Protect us from haste, 

Speaking without thought; 

So healing happens, 

As God’s truth is taught. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom with our words to bring healing when we are willing to be slow to speak and eager to listen. Thank You that You are the ultimate Provider of words that heal. Forgive us for every reckless word spoken. Teach us to do and be better, so that we seek You for wisdom with our words. Show us how to love others with our words, bringing healing and hope and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to learn and speak to bring life. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Hope While We Wait

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then He put His hand on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:10-13, NIV)

He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, He called her over. ”Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. – (Luke 13:10-13, MSG)

Around this time, He was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. A woman there had been sick for 18 years; she was weak, hunched over, and unable to stand up straight. Jesus placed His hands on her and suddenly she could stand straight again. She started praising God. – (Luke 13:10-13, VOICE)

 

At first, this passage made me curious as to what the woman had been suffering from for so long. After a bit of pondering, and reading a bit further, I realized there was so much to grasp from the story, that it really was irrelevant as to what caused her crippled state for so many years, but rather that on that particular Sabbath, she was healed. Not only was her long-awaited hope realized, but Jesus silenced the piousness of the synagogue leader, who claimed it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus, in His great wisdom, pointed out the purpose of the healing, and how it was far more important than watering an animal, which everyone did, even on the Sabbath. As His opponents were silenced, the woman who was healed could not contain her gratitude. She stood tall for the first time in eighteen years; with her hands extended toward heaven, she gave glory to God. I do wonder if she had shown up on that particular Sabbath hoping to be healed, or simply had come to hear the teaching of Jesus and be encouraged. Either way, Hope had come. After eighteen long years, she had been restored, and immediately, she gave all glory to God.

This both encourages and challenges me in this season. I woke at 2:30 this morning, for no apparent reason. Immediately, my thoughts went to my mom. I searched for the number to call the front desk at her senior living community to check in and see how she was doing, but the number I reached, rang off the hook. Defeated, I sat on the steps and prayed for her. Perhaps that was what I was meant to do all along; just pray. In the same way that healing came to that woman in the synagogue, I am contending for in my mom. God has done some miraculous work, as He spared her life and is actively restoring much of what was lost due to her stroke, yet I am continuing to pray for total healing – full and complete. God is good, and He is able to move and heal and grant hope; always. May we be encouraged to hold hope, even in the waiting, for God is good and His love endures forever.

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

To which we can hold;

Steady and secure,

Sure strength to behold.

For God is our rock,

When all else gives way;

He won’t be shaken,

By wind, storm or waves.

So, cling close to Christ,

All doubts, choose ignore;

God will be with us,

Beside and before.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who heals. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, even when the wait seems long. Forgive us for forgetting how incredibly powerful Your love is for each of us. Teach us to trust You more – both for healing and in the waiting. Show us how to love well, all those around us, with encouragement, strength and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love that first heals hearts and then touches lives in countless other ways. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

Do the Good

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

 

When we walk in God’s will and choose to do the good to which we are called, foolish words find no footing, as our unwavering way is our witness to what is true. This is no accident, but rather it is by God’s design. Even the most foolish of folks will not slander good that they see consistently over time. May we rise up in the Lord’s strength and do the good for which we have been called. Let our deeds do the talking so that the foolish are silenced.

 

When we choose do good,

Peace Through Understanding

We silence each voice;

Of ignorant fools,

Who’d make unkind choice.

No word can be said,

Against loving good;

So, let us take rise,

And walk as we should.

We each have purpose,

Designed with intent;

To love and do good,

We’re each heaven sent.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

May we love and serve,

So God’s heart shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, not only to bless those around us, but to protect us as well. Thank You that when we seek You and listen to You, You show us the good that we can do wherever we go. Forgive us for neglecting to either listen or act on that which You ask. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with our every word and deed, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the good to which we are called in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

O man, He has told you what is good. What does the Lord ask of you but to do what is fair and to love kindness, and to walk without pride with your God? – Micah 6:8

Foolish Grow Silent with Good

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, ESV)

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. – (1 Peter 2:15, VOICE)

 

As we choose to do the right thing and walk in the will of God, those who have ill intentions toward us, or opt to speak without awareness, will not long be heard by those who observe the truth of who we are. Our heart and character speak far louder than either ill-intended or misunderstood murmurings about a mere snapshot of our story. Consistency over time tells a much truer tale than an isolated observation or a limited impression. What matters most is that we seek the Lord and pursue His heart in all that we do and say. If our words and deeds are motivated by love, then all other interpretations of our actions will eventually be silenced. May we rise up and choose love again and again, as this is the will of God that shall silence foolishness that finds faults rather than loves.

 

The will of the Lord, choose-love1

Is that we’ll do good;

That we will choose love,

His law, understood.

Foolish are silenced,

As love is given;

His grace overwhelms,

With wrongs forgiven.

So, let us do good,

Make the choice to love;

Silence foolishness,

Show grace from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us and that You do good for us, to silence our ignorance and foolishness. Thank You that as we pursue Your will and act accordingly, Your character that is conveyed through our love, speaks for itself. Thank You that foolishness is silenced and the truth will stand. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen well or have acted in ignorance rather than sought You for answers when we were uncertain about what stood before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to do good in all things, ever walking out Your will everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that our words and deeds silence the foolishness that would lead them to believe lies about their value. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do good according to Your will, just as You do for us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Remembering to Look Up

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2)

On this Patriot’s Day, as we remember the terrible tragedy that struck the safety of our own soil, we can also recall a time that our nation banded together as a united front, to help the hurting, care well for the courageous that continued to search for the missing, and sought the strength and security that our Savior alone provided. Our help to make sense of something so senseless, could only come as we chose to cling to Christ.

Time has passed, and the new generation of kids I have in my classroom were not even born yet when 9/11 occurred. Many of them, have no personal connection to the event, as they have not traveled beyond the West Coast, or for some, even outside of our state. They have never known life without scanners and security guards at government buildings and hospitals, nor do many have connections to fire fighters, law enforcement officers, or military personnel. History needs to be shared. Each generations ought to be made aware of what has gone before them, so they gain empathy and compassion for those who serve and protect our nation. Today, this verse is more personal, as I lift my eyes to the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, and trust Him to lead and guide me; to show me how to create connections that are relevant and personal for seventh grade students, to an event that occurred prior to their existence. May we each take time to remember the lost, and the lives of those who continue to live with the holes in their hearts all of these years later. Be our help Lord.

Remember the time,911

when tragedy struck;

nation was silenced,

in shock we were stuck.

The world fell silent,

in horror, we watched;

such acts of terror,

and countless lives lost.

The chaos encased,

in great clouds of dust;

everywhere running,

which sense could they trust?

It did not take long,

for heroes to rise;

to search for missing,

help those still alive.

Even days after,

the tragedy fell;

people were praying,

holding hope as well.

Out of the ashes,

came beauty indeed;

people united,

to rise and meet needs.

Let us remember,

the community;

together triumphs,

with trust, unity.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lift our eyes up to You, You are where our help comes from. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You, even on the darkest of days. Thank You that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You alone, can turn tragedy into triumph. Forgive us for allowing tragedy, trials, grief, or our own lack of hope in what we cannot see to keep us from looking to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift our eyes to You, no matter what comes our way – for You are our Help and our Hope, always. Lead us to love and encourage others, no matter what circumstance life has them in, and may many find their hope forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our Help and our Hope, always. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Storms Stilled to a Whisper

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29)

One of the things I have loved about growing up in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity to the water.  The repetition and rhythm of the waves rolling into the shore, are among my favorite sounds.  When a storm comes through, there is nothing quite so awe inspiring as the power and force with which the waves crash and the seas churn.  When the wind and waves whip at full force, there is no wisdom in nearing the water’s edge.  Yet Christ in us, is in the eye of every storm, and can choose to simply say, “Be still,” and all that is crashing around us, will have to yield to the mighty hand of God.  Even if the storm that is raging around us is not silenced, He will hush all that is hurling to and fro within us.  May we seek He who calms our storms to a whisper, and can causes the waves to hush within our hearts.  Let us be still and know that He is God.

The mighty waves crash,Waves of Wonder

and the seas, they roar;

yet we’re hidden in,

One who says, “No more.”

What’s raging, brought calm,

stillness to the heart;

that’s tossed to and fro,

His peace won’t depart.

So ask for the calm,

yet receive His grace;

know that He will still,

the most needed space.

God of all comfort,

Creator of peace;

Sustainer of life,

Who grants us release.

Take pause in the storms,

and trust in the One;

Who can with a word,

make all stillness come.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still storms to a whisper and that You hush the waves of raging seas – be it externally in what surrounds us, or within the walls of our own hearts.  Thank You that when we seek You and depend on You, You are faithful to meet us where we are at, and You bring Your peace.  Forgive us for fighting the storms rather than relenting and allowing You to navigate us to safety.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first in all things and at all times, no matter what storms may appear on our horizon.  Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, can see how You still the storms.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we are still before You in the calm and in the storms, placing our faith in You to lead us to safe harbor.  Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Calm in the Storm

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. 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

Operating in Awe

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away. – (Matthew 22:22)

 

As the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus, He responded in wisdom, as He knew the evil intent behind their inquiry. Though the Pharisees and Herodians were rarely rendered speechless, Jesus often left them with nothing to say. The truth could not be countered nor contested, as they knew that Jesus was correct in all that He had spoken.

 

How often are we left in awe? Do we give God room to speak into our lives? His wisdom, grace and goodness for us, ought to open our eyes to the awesome power that is present in God with us. In the heart of every believer, His Holy Spirit resides. So often squabbles would be silenced and storms would settle, if only we would give ear to His word. May our hearts be open and our ears be ready to hear, as Christ whispers His words that leave us awestruck by the glory of His goodness and grace.

 

In awe and wonder,

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton – please click image to see more 🙂

we stand here, amazed;

at the Lord’s wisdom,

given by His grace.

He looks to the heart,

He knows our intent;

His grace as our guide,

leads us to repent.

May we give God room,

to move in power;

let obedience,

move us each hour.

Lord, as we listen,

help us follow through;

choose to walk Your way,

life faithful to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that who You are leaves us in awe. Thank You that when we slow down and make time to listen, You speak to our hearts. Forgive us for not recognizing the awesome power that is present in You (present in us) through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, and help us to stand firm in the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may give You room to move in our hearts and our lives. Let the lost be found as we live in love, listening to Your leading. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in awe of just how great You are. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10