Speak Truth

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. You must always speak the truth to each other, because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

Initially, my thought was that I do speak truthfully to people. However, upon deeper reflection, sometimes not speaking up is not being honest. Telling others that everything is fine when it is not, is a sort of pretense that puts others off who would otherwise be ready and available to help. What I have discovered this week through one of my worst experiences as an educator, is that my neighbors, my fellow teachers and staff members, as well as many students, are ready to stand up for me, walk beside me, and extend kindness and support where it is needed most. Our connection to each other provides strength and support, for there is far more strength when we are connected than when we stand alone. I have been blessed to teach with incredible humans throughout the twenty-six years of my teaching career thus far. Numerous staff and students have come through our school community and left their beautiful imprints on my heart. Perhaps this is why I have stayed so long. Even on the toughest days, there are people who are near, who come alongside, and stand together, united in purpose. God is so gracious and kind. He shows us more of who He is and how He loves through the people He places alongside us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to speak truth, and to be honest about how we are and what we need. He is good, and He provides as we abide.

Choose to speak the truth,

What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are not nearly as important as who is beside us…

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place us in communities that have the capacity to work together, support each other, and thrive, rather than merely survive. Forgive us for the times that we have not been honest about how we are doing or what we truly need. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, and to share our struggles and triumphs with those whom You have placed beside us. Show us how to support, strengthen and encourage those around us in Your unwavering love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the people whom You have placed in the communities we are in, and for the ways that we can stand together, united in purpose and in love. Amen.

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

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

Wisdom to Speak Well

They were not able to catch Him in what He said in public, and being amazed at His answer, they became silent. – (Luke 20:26, HCSB)

The men were amazed at His wise answers. They could say nothing. They were not able to trick Jesus there in front of the people. – (Luke 20:26, ERV)

Try as they might, they couldn’t trap Him into saying anything incriminating. His answers caught them off guard and left them speechless. – (Luke 20:26, MSG)

The Pharisees relentlessly tried to trick Jesus into saying something incriminating so that they could justifiably get rid of Him. However, Jesus knew their intentions, and answered in ways that spoke truth and silenced those who could not catch Him with words. The very same God is available and able to give us the words to say in every situation. Rather than simply react, we ought to pause, quiet our hearts, and hear what He would have us say. God grants wisdom so that we can speak truth in love. It is never His intent for us to be in a war of words or a battle of wits. Instead, He calls us to love as He first loved us. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us His wisdom and words, so that we may answer in truth and love in every situation and circumstance.

Words can be weapons,

That we use for good;

The Lord’s own defense,

Made truth understood.

No harmful intent,

But rather in love;

He spoke only truth,

With grace from above.

As we seek the Lord,

And listen with care;

He will equip us,

With goodness to share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to show us the way to walk out our everyday life. Thank You that when people attempted to slander His character or trap Him in some sort of untruth, He slowed down and spoke in wisdom and truth, without harmful intent, motivated by love. Forgive us for speaking without love, or for being defensive instead of listening and then only speaking what is beneficial to all. Teach us to slow down and seek You to give us words to speak, rather than blurting out whatever rolls off the tongue. Lead us to speak truth in love, and to demonstrate Your love for those around us in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and speak out of love in all things. Amen.

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

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

Choose to Love

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

This is a beautiful reminder of what matters. Honesty, truth, trust, hope and perseverance are things that exemplify love. When we choose to love one another, we extend each of these things to each other. I appreciate the idea of love being a safe shelter, as loving and being loved well provides security and a sense of safety. Additionally, to love is a choice. God designed each of us for love, but we must choose to live according to our design. In order to love like the Lord, we need to know and trust Him. As we do, we become acutely aware of His love for us, and desire to share what we have been given. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His love so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

To love is to choose,

To speak truth always;

Rejoice in the good,

Found in each new day.

Love always protects,

Provides a safe space;

Where hope’s always found,

As is loving grace.

Love never will quit,

When the going’s rough;

Chooses persevere,

It’s always enough.

May we learn to love,

As we were designed;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

And always be kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us the way that You call us to love. Thank You that You do not ask of us, anything that You don’t already give. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to love as You call us to love. Teach us to receive all that You are offering so that we learn to love like You. Show us how to love others with honesty, trust, hope and a determination that never quits. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love like You. Amen.

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

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

Forgive, Listen and Grow

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, NIV) 

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV) 

Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act kind. – (Colossians 3:13, VOICE) 

Our nation is in a space where forgiveness is needed for all. For many of us, our own ignorance to the magnitude of the problem that still exists in this country is a grievance in and of itself. We must bear with one another in love, as we seek to listen, learn and grow. The enemy is not people who hold a particular profession, nor is it people who protest and take a stand against what is blaringly wrong. There is an enemy of our souls, who seeks to kill and destroy, as lies, ignorance and ugliness create division. That sin that has seeped in and wrapped its tendrils around unprotected hearts, has created the heinous atrocities that have transpired over time. Justice must be served, and we must walk in forgiveness with repentant hearts; for we each have played a role in perpetuating the problem, if we have not been actively pursuing better. For many of us, this is a season of awakening to a nightmare that many have been living for centuries. In order to be better, we must listen and learn. For me, this comes in the form of reading everything I can get my hands on, listening to those who have a voice of experience, have honest conversations and self-reflection, so that I may be aware and informed; willing to forgive my own ignorance, as I move forward with intention and honesty. Rather than lashing out with accusations and ugliness, how can we have hard conversations and speak truth to those in our circles who need to hear? Forgiveness does not mean ignoring nor sweeping things under the rug, but rather it is a commitment to not hold hostility in our hearts toward others, and choose to kindly come along side people and help them see the truth. Some will not listen. Love anyway. Others will be slow to see the truth. Love anyway. To choose to love is the only way that true change can occur. Jesus reached out, spoke, touched, and loved all people. There were no qualifiers to Him loving, rather He saw needs and met them. As He loved the people whom society had deemed “less than”, Jesus modeled what we are all meant to do. There are none less nor more valuable than others. We are all precious in His sight. Sadly, we are in a space where there has been such injustice against people of color, that it is necessary to draw specific attention to the wrongs so that change may transpire. We must be and do better. None of us will ever get everything right, but if our hearts are for ALL, and we are actively seeking to listen, learn and grow, we will be agents of change for the better. May we seek the Lord for forgiveness, so that we may forgive ourselves and one another as we move in love toward what God intended all along. 

The choice to forgive, 

To listen and grow; 

Is how we are called, 

So truth may be known. 

Instead of anger, 

Let’s have open hearts; 

That true repentance, 

Finds a way to start. 

As we’re forgiven, 

May we do the same; 

Love one another, 

In Jesus’s Name. 

Love with true kindness, 

Without fear to speak; 

Truth for what is right, 

God’s will, ever seek. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called to bear with one another in love, and choose forgive. Thank You that forgiveness does not mean permission to repeat wrongs, but rather it is us not holding onto past wrongs that weigh us down and prevent us from moving forward in all that You are calling us to. Teach us to do and be better, so that all may live and love in freedom, without fear. Show us how to love those around us better. Lead us to repentance so that reconciliation may transpire. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the true healer and reconciler of all. Be glorified O God, as we listen, learn and grow in love for one another. Amen. 

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Be Our Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. – (Ephesians 6:10, MSG)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

 

If anyone can speak truth into our lives as we are limited in what we can safely and wisely do, it is Paul, through his letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul was writing from a Roman prison, encouraging all to find strength in God. His reminder to us is that as we are invested in our walk with God, His strength will rise up in us and flow through us, in all things. In a space of rapidly increasing restrictions and limited availability, there are still a plethora of freedoms that we are granted that Paul did not experience in a Roman prison. We are able to communicate with loved ones, near and far; we are able to get outdoors and take in the fresh air and move. Technology grants us access to far more than ever before, even in as much as the opportunity to worship together, separately, from our own homes, with our own congregations, online. No, it doesn’t look the same, but it is far better than the space Paul was in, and likewise, far better than the confines of a hospital bed, fighting for life. In this time of being primarily home bound, there is room to grow closer to our family, with whom we reside, and time to invest in things that we seldom otherwise do. Yesterday, I walked around the perimeter of our yard and snapped some photos, choosing to be intentional as I looked through the lens. I found great delight in observing how the light and shadows danced among plants ready to bloom, and soaked in the sunshine that has been present all week. Our evening ended with a family game night, and our middle son dominated at Dominoes. Smiles were on each face around the table, and there was a sweet peace in one another’s presence as we laughed and played together. God is so good, and His strength is granted as we trust and depend on Him in all things, great and small.

 

Be strong in the Lord, DSC00007

For that is how strength;

Rises within us,

And reaches great lengths.

As we trust in Him,

For life, love and grace;

He meets and equips,

To run well, our race.

Trust in His goodness,

Look around and see;

He’s ever faithful,

Watch and you’ll agree.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength is limitless and Your love, boundless. Thank You that You make us strong as we seek You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when times are tough. Teach us to trust You, no matter what we see. Show us how to love in the strength You give us, so that others may come to know the abundance of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust in You to be our strength all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Wisdom With Friends

Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble. – (Proverbs 13:20, ERV)

Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. – (Proverbs 13:20, MSG)

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – (Proverbs 13:20, NIV)

 

The company we keep matters. Those whom we spend the most time with, have the loudest voice in our lives. Are the words spoken by those around us encouraging and uplifting, ever willing to speak truth in love? Though we cannot control what others say and do, we can choose the people that we make a priority in our lives. Additionally, we can determine the influence that we have on those around us. When we walk in wisdom and truth, we are providing a path to peace. May we seek to spend time with those who are wise, rather than making friends with fools; and may we be friends who walk in wisdom and lift up all who surround us.

 

Help me be a friend,Wisdom With Friends

Who’s wise in my ways;

An encouragement,

To others, always.

A fool for a friend,

Is cause for alarm;

For such company,

Will only bring harm.

So choose well your friends,

Opt walk with the wise;

Growing in wisdom,

Purpose realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us and give us direction as to what is best for us. Thank You that You remind us that the company we keep matters. Thank You that not only do those we choose to spend time with have influence on us, but we do on them as well. Forgive us for either choosing poorly, or for being foolish as friends. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to show us whom we are meant to spend time with, and that all wisdom comes from You. Grant us Your wisdom, so that we may love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we first seek You for all wisdom and listen to You for direction in our friendships, so that above all, You may be praised. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Shine With Our Words

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

Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him – the Anointed One, the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, VOICE)

 

Our growth is largely dependent on the choices that we make. Each time we opt to act according to the will of God in love, His light shines through us. However, when we choose poorly, and do not allow the love of Christ to lead us in what we do, we fall short, and the opportunity for His love and grace to be made known is gone. Every time we choose to speak truth in love, rather than in anger or spite, we grow more in likeness with Christ. Our gentle answer to another’s wrath will often turn the entire situation around. Not only do we grow in grace as we choose to love, despite our own desires to get angry, but the recipient of our loving delivery of truth is exposed to God’s grace in unexpected ways. May we go forth this day, intentionally choosing to speak truth in love, so that we might grow more and more like Christ in every way.

 

Let the light of Christ,unseal-my-lips

Shine bright in our words;

As we speak in love,

The truth we have heard.

For when we choose love,

Instead of disdain;

We grow more like Christ,

And honor His Name.

May all that we say,

Be the truth in love;

So all may find hope,

In the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we seek You and pursue the path that You have placed before us, the more we grow to be like You. Thank You that when we speak the truth in love, not only does the recipient benefit, but we grow as well. Forgive us for speaking out of anger or frustration, rather than slowing down and speaking the truth in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold our tongues and wait to speak until we are able to deliver our words in Your love. Show us how to love well as we speak truth to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love that You have for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we speak the truth in love and You grow us ever more in Your likeness as we choose to walk in Your way. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Teach Truth

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders. – (Psalm 78:4, NLT)

 

If we do not share the truth of God with the next generation, how will they ever come to know Him? We are called to teach our children what God has done for us, and throughout the ages. It is promised, that if we “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – (Proverbs 22:6) This can only come to pass if we fulfill our end of the deal. Coming into the knowledge of the power and faithfulness of God, compels us to hold fast to the hope that He provides. The same is true for our children. Kids have a remarkable capacity to comprehend the truth from a young age, and will grow in faith and hope if they are taught of the wonders and power of our precious Lord. May we make it a priority to teach the next generation the truth of who God is and how He loves, so that they too, may hold the hope that we already know.

 

The truth that we know,jesus holding hands with child

is meant to be shared;

passed on to our kids,

so they’ll be prepared.

When they understand,

God’s wonderful ways;

they learn to follow,

the Lord all their days.

God promises us,

if we lead them well;

He’ll keep hold of them,

in His grace, they’ll dwell.

Help us teach our kids,

the truth of Your love;

so they too will seek,

You, our Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing that children provide. Thank You that You value the hope and the future of every single child. Thank You that we are called to teach the truth of Your love and faithfulness to the next generation, so that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and one day do the same. Forgive us for our inconsistency. Teach us to be faithful in sharing the truth that we know with those whom You place in our charge. Show us how to love well and to speak truth in a way that is powerful and understandable, so that all may hear what You want to be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You from a young age, and not depart from You. Be exalted O God, as we share of Your power and wonders with the next generation. 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

Encourage with His Sweet Songs

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. – (Ephesians 5:19, ERV)

Music is a miraculous gift that breaks down even the bulkiest of barriers. Though there is always music in my day while I travel from place to place in my car, it has been largely absent in my regular routine. About a week ago, on my way into Fred Meyer to buy groceries, something made me take pause at the small display outside of the electronics section. There before me, were small blue tooth speakers that were affordably priced. As I pondered the prices and products, the sales associate wandered my direction. He had helpful suggestions, and I decided to go ahead and make a reasonable purchase, as I had no other source to play music out loud in my home for myself, other than my phone.

Since that day, I have utilized this fantastic little speaker to blare worship music while I prepare for my day. It is remarkable how much better equipped I feel when I have been singing along with reckless abandon, and soaking in the sweet sound that floods my space as I ready myself for what lies ahead.

Interestingly enough, the first portion of the verse has also come to fruition over this week as well. A friend and I have been sending one another links back and forth for our favorite or most encouraging worship songs. It has been such a sweet exchange to be reminded of lyrics long forgotten, that speak truth that my heart needed to hear. My hope is that the same has held true for her. May we find ways to encourage one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as we go about our day, and may we allow our hearts to sing and make music unto the Lord.

Encourage with songs,

Kari Jobe  - Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

Kari Jobe – Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

as the tunes give rise;

for spirits shall soar,

with truth, come alive.

Sing and make music,

from our hearts to His;

may we choose make known,

how worthy He is.

Share of psalms and hymns,

that speak what is true;

so hurting hearts hear,

Who will make them new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gifts of Your word, music, and the ability to combine the two. Thank You for Your sweet presence that is made tangible when we choose to worship. Forgive us for neglecting the need within us to sing and make music in our hearts unto You, and the call to encourage others with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Thank You for showing me a new way that this can be done, practically. TeachJust Be Held us to trust You more, so that we would set aside the stuff that weighs us down and choose to allow our hearts to soar in song before You. Lead us to love and encourage others with Your words that meet them where they are and speak to their heart in a way that only You can do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other with songs that reflect Your truth, and as we sing and make music in our hearts unto You. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

A few more favorites:

Casting Crowns – Just Be Held

Amanda Cook & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave