Truth in Love Brings Growth

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

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

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

We are called to speak the truth in love. As we do, we grow more like Jesus. He modeled love in all things, and we have been created to do the same. This growth is a lifelong process, for we are constantly in a battle between acting and reacting in our broken human nature, and responding in love as we are called to do. We must not grow weary in doing good, for it is always worthwhile, and can have a lasting impact that goes far beyond what we might see or understand. There have been countless times in my own life when dear ones have spoken the truth in love to me, and because it was delivered in love, what was said had a lasting positive impact. Such words can change a moment, a day, a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime. Our intentional decision to choose love has the power to grow not only ourselves, but those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in all that we say and do, and give Him room to grow us in the ways He intended from the start.

Speak the truth in love,

For it is our call;

To grow more like Christ,

As we choose love all.

Lord, show us the way,

To love like You do;

Do all things in love,

So Your heart shines through.

Grow us in Your strength,

To do what is right;

As Your love leads us,

To walk in Your light.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak the truth in love and to grow more like You as we do. Thank You that this is not something that we do on our own, but rather, as we seek You and listen to Your leading, You show us how and You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for every word that we have spoken that was not in truth and love. Show us how to do all things in Your love. Lead us to love those around us with our words and actions so that Your love is clearly shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak the truth in love and to grow ever more like You. Amen.

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

Brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

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

Do Not Be Afraid

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, HCSB)

But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name Him Jesus. Give Him that name because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, ERV)

While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son and you are to name Him, ‘Savior’, for He is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, TPT)

This morning, the message that I am receiving from this passage is to not be afraid to do what I know I am called to do. Joseph was called to wed Mary, yet had legitimate fears to do so, knowing that she was with child. Back then, a couple in their predicament could be completely outcast, or worse. They both had tangible reasons to be afraid, yet God let them know that He would be with them and they need not fear. Sometimes, God calls us to do something that is really big without fear, yet other times, it is something ordinary that has unusual factors involved that cause us fear. God is faithful, and He has promised to be with us. Today is a day that requires an extra measure of trust, as there have been things spoken and actions taken that incite uneasiness in many. It is in these times that we need to trust big, look out for one another, and continue to love as we have been called to love. May the God of peace surround us with His protection and grace and be tangibly near as we go through our day.

Do not be afraid,

Words often spoken;

For fear’s a liar,

When trust is broken.

God calls us to rise,

In courage, be strong;

Trust in His promise,

Our hope and our song.

Things may seem foolish,

Yet look at His grace;

God has shown He moves,

In creative ways.

Born in a stable,

Heaven came to earth;

The Lord chose come near,

Miraculous birth.

The fears overcome,

In a manger lay;

Our peace and purpose,

To trust each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised to be with us, always. Thank You that You sent Your assurance in spaces it was needed most, and that You are the same God as You were then, now, and forever. Forgive us for our fears, both rational and irrational. Teach us to trust in You and to listen to Your leading each new day. Show us how to trust You and to take care of one another. Lead us in love each and every day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hear Your whispers of love that bring us peace. Amen.

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

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear… – 1 John 4:18a

Trust Over Fear

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NIV)

Jesus overhead and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be alright.” – (Luke 8:50, MSG)

When Jesus heard this, He turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t yield to fear. Have faith in Me and she will live again.” – (Luke 8:50, TPT)

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had bowed at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house to heal his young daughter. As Jairus and Jesus were on the way, someone from Jairus’ house came up to them and told them that Jairus’ daughter had died. Verse fifty is how Jesus responded to the news about Jairus’ daughter. On the way to the house, Jesus had healed a woman. I imagine that Jairus already knew that Jesus could heal, and the timing of the woman’s healing, prior to the news of the death of his daughter, must have added to the hope that Jairus placed in Him. After Jesus, Jairus and the disciples who were with them arrived, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. She did live again and everything was alright, just as Jesus had spoken. I don’t know about you, but this brings much encouragement. When we seek the Lord for answers and for help, it is never too late for Him to intervene. He can bring life out of death and restore what seems irrevocably broken. We serve a God who restores and heals and grants us hope, even when things seem bleak. May we ever continue to fall at the feet of Jesus, trusting that He is who He says He is, and can do all things that will bring life and wholeness and restoration.

No matter the way,

That things may appear;

When we seek the Lord,

He’ll always draw near.

To know His presence,

Fathom we’re His own;

Held and granted hope,

Perceive how we’re known.

Christ hears ev’ry prayer,

In love, makes a way;

Hope soon realized,

He does not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power who heard the prayers of a synagogue leader and healed both his daughter and a woman on the way, is available to us every day. Thank You that You hear our prayers and grant us help and hope as You hold us up in Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations when answers seem delayed or too late, for Your timing is not ours, and Your ways are best. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend help and hope and life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and give thanks for how You love us all. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

Ask in Faith

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, ERV)

Everything you pray for with the fullness of faith you will receive! – (Matthew 21:22, TPT)

These words were spoken by Jesus to the disciples after He had commanded a fig tree to never bear fruit again, and they watched the tree wither before them. His words were not to create a culture of wishes being granted, but more to prove the power of prayer, when spoken in faith. The challenge in this is that there are always prayers that seem to go unanswered. In our limited understanding, that is how things appear. If we could see things through the lens of Christ, we would recognize that our prayers are answered His way, not ours. He hears every prayer that we pray, and is ever moving on our behalf. However, God is just and kind, and our prayers must align with His heart and His plans. I have prayed in faith, believing that God would bring healing on many occasions. Sometimes, healing is immediate, other times it is gradual, and still other times, the healing happens in heaven. What I do know, is that God is faithful to meet us in our need and provide His presence that moves mountains – both in our hearts and in our circumstances. May we ever turn to Him and lift our prayers, believing in faith that He will move either the mountains before us, or lead us over or around all that seems to stand in our way.

Call on the Lord,

In faith, seek His Name;

Pray believing,

The truth we proclaim.

We know He’s good,

He hears each request;

His love holds us,

His grace does what’s best.

Let us choose ask,

Make our requests known;

God is faithful,

And His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear every prayer spoken in faith. Thank You that answers don’t always look the way that we anticipate, but You are always good and have eternity in mind. Forgive us for our frustration and impatience when it seems that answers are not present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize You moving on our behalf, and trust that You have our ultimate good in mind. Show us how to love those around us, as we lift up prayers of faith, believing that You will answer all that we ask. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up our prayers to You in faith, trusting that You will move mightily on our behalf. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Cleansed From Within

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. – (Matthew 15:18, NIV)

But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. Words can pollute, not food. – (Matthew 15:18, TPT)

But the things that come out of your mouth – your curses, your fears, your denunciations – these come from your heart, and it is the stirrings of your heart that can make you unclean. – (Matthew 15:18, VOICE)

When I read this, I am reminded of a childhood song that has the lines: “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little ears what you hear. Be careful little mouth what you say.” I know there is more to the song, but it was a powerful form of instruction from a young age; for whatever we allow into our hearts, mingles in our minds, and then makes way out of our mouths. If we seek to fuel our hearts and minds with God’s goodness and truth, the things that we say will be a reflection of such. However, when we are operating in our own ugly humanity, our words mirror the heart. We need Jesus to teach us and grow us in His love so that we can love in the same way. Lord, help us to pray and rely on You to cleanse our hearts and speak words that edify those around us.

Words that are wounding,

Vector illustration hand drawn.

Those spoken in rage;

Destroy in others,

Hope that You can save.

Lord, please cleanse our hearts,

Make loving each mind;

Let every word,

Be gracious and kind.

Help our words build up,

Keep silent all else;

Lead us by Your love,

As we die to self.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us how to love like You. Thank You that You call and command us to speak and act in love. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our hearts to entertain ugliness, and given voice to things not of You held in our hearts. Cleanse our hearts and minds of all that does not edify or please You. Teach us to invest our time, our heart, mind, soul and strength into a pleasing pursuit of You. Show us how to speak to those around us in love, and silence the thoughts that do not reflect Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are mindful of what we take in and allow to exit our mouths. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Let Us Listen First

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends; Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

This requires an ongoing decision to be intentional to listen, and truly seek to understand. If we merely listen to respond rather than comprehend what is being spoken, anger has room to rise up, instead of compassion and kindness. Yes, there are times that what is being spoken is not beneficial for anyone. Even then, how we respond makes all the difference. Righteous anger allows us to appropriately respond in love and in truth. The ego, on the other hand, causes responses that only further fan the flames. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen well, so that when we choose to speak, our words are full of life and love and grace.

Lord, help us to seek,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To listen and learn;

Use our ears and heart,

For gracious return.

Let not our voices,

Respond without thought;

Help us understand,

And love as we ought.

For if truth be told,

Wisdom can be found;

In hearts that listen,

As Your grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to lead with listening to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without truly hearing, or allowed anger to rise and taint our words or actions. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to listen to understand, speak in love, and allow anger to help us bring change through Your goodness and grace. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You to grow us more like You. Amen.

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

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Protection and Strength

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV) 

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV) 

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide?  – (Psalm 46:1, VOICE) 

As a visual learner, I am often reminded of biblical truths as I observe the world around me. This morning, as I sit on the couch with my laptop in front of me and my sweet puppy sleeping soundly on my lap, I am reminded that just as I am a safe space for Thor, God is so much more for us. Thor is a smart puppy, and often gets overzealous in his desire to play. Interestingly, despite correction and redirection, he quickly comes and wants to jump on my lap and snuggle in. He knows that I love him fiercely, even when his impulses get the best of him. God provides the same sort of safety as we seek Him. He embraces us in His goodness and grace, and guides us in the way that we must learn, change and grow, even after correction or redirection. May we ever seek the Lord as our shelter and strength, for when trial or trouble are near, He is nearer still. 

God is our shelter, 

Our true Source of strength; 

No matter what comes, 

Through depth, height or length. 

When troubles are near, 

The Lord’s nearer still; 

Embracing with grace, 

With His love, He’ll fill. 

Strength when we’re weary, 

Safety through the storms; 

Wisdom, direction, 

With truth, He informs. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Throughout each new day; 

Pursue what is right, 

He’ll show us the way. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and strength, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You lead, direct and correct us in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have thought, spoken or walked the wrong way. Teach us to look to You for wisdom in the ways that we are meant to go, so that all we do will honor You. Show us how to love as You love – lavishly and without reservations. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our strength and safety while we pursue all that You are calling us into. Amen. 

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

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. – Psalm 27:5

He Hears

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

You will answer me, God; I know You always will, like You always do as You listen with love to my every prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, TPT)

 

God in His amazing grace, hears our every prayer. He is faithful to answer as we ask, if only we seek Him. Yesterday was a day abounding in new, to the point of being a bit overwhelming before it even began. In His grace, God met me each step of the way, and the day went fairly well. New classes, new season and a new semester were each met with new strength, wisdom and resolve. All are a work in progress, but the tangible reminder that He answers what we ask of Him is an ongoing motivation to continue to depend on Him. May we call on the Lord, for He will answer, each time we pray to Him.

 

As we call on God, Compassion in Confrontations

He hears what we say;

Both spoken aloud,

And what our hearts pray.

Faithful to answer,

The God of all grace;

He knows what we need,

Throughout all our days.

So, seek Him and ask,

In faith, choose to pray;

God sees and answers,

In the best of ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear and answer us. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that keep us from asking, or questioning when answers come differently than we would have imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as Your ways are best and You love to bless Your children. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that extend Your heart and hope in spaces they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and know that You hear all that we lift before You. Amen.

 

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

 

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Good Silences Foolishness

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)

 

This is the biblical version of “actions speak louder than words”. When we are consistent in character and choose to do good over and over again, our reputation stands among those who know us, and foolish or ignorant words spoken surrounding who we are, what we do, or what we stand for, will not be given ear by those who have observed who we are over time. It does not mean that humans are infallible, yet it reminds us to assume positive intent, especially among those who consistently choose to do good. God calls us to love one another, and choosing to extend kindness, grace and mercy in what we do and how we interact with others is paramount in pleasing God. May we seek the Lord for strength, so that we do not grow weary in doing good.

 

The Lord has called us, Ambassadors of Love

To choose to do good;

Be kind, show mercy,

Make grace understood.

For our character,

Should stand on its own;

Through consistent good,

God’s love is made known.

It is by His love,

That foolish talk falls;

As truth rises up,

Breaking down false walls.

So, let us choose good,

Again and again;

Love as the Lord loves,

So His truth shall reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good consistently over time. Thank You that as we do, our character and reputation speak louder than foolish talk spoken by those who intend harm. Thank You that what matters most is what You think of us, as Your opinion has eternal implications. Forgive us for worrying about disputing foolish talk, or engaging in banter that does not represent You well. Teach us to choose to do good in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You do, even when people speak foolishly with the intent to harm. Help us know how to do good in such a way that it silences the desire to be unkind, and grows good within the recipient. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5