Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

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

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Hope in Living Water

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – (John 4:14, NIV)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day. First, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to one another. Second, male and female strangers did not speak to each other. Additionally, people did not typically draw water from the well in the heat of the day. His opening with the woman was simply to ask for a drink of water as she was drawing the water from the well. Her line of questions led to His statement about living water, and eventually to Jesus speaking the truth of who she was, what she had experienced, and what she could have through trusting in God. She embraced the grace that was freely given and then went and told everyone she could find about the One at the well. Her shame was overshadowed by the hope she discovered in Jesus. Incredibly, the same holds true for us still. When we realize the hope and joy that Jesus has for us as we trust in Him, we cannot help but allow His love and hope to radiate from us. May we ever trust in He who is the living water, and walk out our days in the reality of our eternal hope.

O Lord help us trust,

In all that is true;

Our eternal hope,

That is found in You.

Wherever we thirst,

Jesus is the cure;

True living water,

Hope that is assured.

For where there is hope,

There’s also resolve;

To keep keeping on,

As fears soon dissolve.

Rise up in worship,

To Him be all praise;

Our hope forever,

The strength through our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us each at our “wells”, show us where we have been and what we have done, and freely and lovingly offer us new life in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You, or have lost sight of the hope that is forever in You. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, and to remember that Your love is without limits or conditions. Show us how to love and accept those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope in You that lasts forever and live out our days trusting in the truth. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. 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

Direction and Refreshment

Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. – (Isaiah 43:19, HCSB)

I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:19, ERV)

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

After nearly two years of lockdown because of Covid, it does feel like God is doing something new as mandates are lifted and people are beginning to venture out. At school, it feels as if kids are caught between what they have known for the last two years, and that which they have been hoping for throughout the duration. It is a process to regain some sort of normality, yet the glimpses already are so very good. The way through the desert is the ability to get out and go, without restrictions, and for me, the rivers to dry land is seeing smiles and expression where there was only a mask for so many months. There is a sort of return to humanity, where I think it was too often forgotten, when the weight of words and actions were not fully witnessed. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us out of the wilderness and teach us to drink from the flowing waters of His goodness and grace.

Closely, help us watch,

As You make things new;

Your goodness poured out,

And mercies made new.

Lead us in Your love,

With kindness and grace;

Teach us to trust You,

Throughout all our days.

The way through deserts,

Water in dry land;

Goodness tangible,

Help hearts understand.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

As You make things new;

Help us see blessings,

Embraced in the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make ways in the wilderness and bring water to dry land. Thank You that You grant us direction and refreshment. Forgive us for our weariness when the wilderness seems unending. Teach us to depend on and hope in You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your loving ways that lead and provide for us all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

Believe in All Things

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, HCSB)

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 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)

This can be the challenge in love. To bear all things does not mean to just attempt to deal with trials on our own, but rather it is in God’s strength that we are able to still stand when the storms sweep through. Believing all things is to trust in the truth, no matter how things appear; to hope all things is the confidence in knowing Who is ultimately in control. Lastly, to endure all things is to seek Jesus to hold us up and continue, even when circumstances feel impossible. It is Christ in us who will always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere. When Christ is within us, we delight in what is true. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, for He is love, always.

The love of the Lord,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Is what leads us home;

No matter how far,

In life we have roamed.

For God’s love endures,

He loves through all things;

Providing us hope,

As strength He does bring.

Strength to choose rise up,

Protection and peace;

Grace to keep going,

Help and hope released.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Thank You that You always protect, we can always trust You, in You we forever have hope, and You provide what we need to persevere. Forgive us for attempting to weather the storms on our own. Teach us to trust and rely on You to provide all that we need to press on. Lead us in Your goodness and strength to do all that You set before us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in the light of Your love so that we can extend the same love that You give us to all. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

To See What is True

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. – (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. – (Philippians 4:8, TPT)

If we can keep our hearts and minds focused on that which is good and worthy of praise, our words and actions follow accordingly. This is far easier said than done, especially when what stands before us clouds our view of good. It requires intentional pursuit of God and the grace that He provides to see past the difficulties and recognize the beauty and goodness that surround us. Years ago, when I was a part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), I had the rare opportunity to spend time in India, not once, but twice. The first time I was there, all I could see was the lack, the loss, and the hardships the people had to constantly endure. However, when I returned a year later, God showed me the incredible beauty that was all around me. The joy that people had, despite their circumstances, the lush green vegetation everywhere, the bold, bright and beautiful colors found on the fabric that people wore, the kindness and generosity of those whom we worked with, and the countless glorious works that God was doing before our own eyes. May we ever seek the Lord to help us fix our eyes on the things of Him, so that we may see all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.

Lord, open our eyes,

So we truly see;

The good around us,

That ever brings peace.

The honorable,

And all that is true;

The just and the pure,

His ways to pursue.

May all that’s lovely,

Remind us what’s true;

The commendable,

All that we can do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of what is important and what should capture our attention. Thank You that no matter our situation or circumstances, there is always evidence of You that surrounds us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your good in the throes of the difficult. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You and all that You have brought into being that reflect Your glory and goodness to the world. Show us how to be Your ambassadors of love, as we fix our eyes on You and reflect back the good You have given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us eyes to see all of the good and wonderful that You have placed all around us. Amen. 

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

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

Be Transformed

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – (Romans 12:2, HCSB)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT)

We need God to know what is best and then to actually do it. As we seek the Lord and invite Him to transform our minds, He grants us wisdom and insight to know what is good and pleasing to Him, and how to follow His will in every area of our lives. This does not happen overnight, but rather it is a lifelong process. Every day that we seek the Lord with intention, we are transformed a bit more to reflect His heart, love and light to the world. It is impossible to shine for Him if we are imitating what we think the world wants. His loving kindness, goodness and grace flows from those who seek to be authentically who He has made them to be. May we invest our hearts and lives in seeking the Lord, for it is through our seeking that He empowers us to live the beautiful life that He intended.

Lord, protect our hearts,

Show us what is best;

Transform and renew,

And grant us Your rest.

Teach us to seek You,

In all things, always;

So we walk Your way,

Our lives give You praise.

Protect us from lies,

That seem to be true;

Lead us in Your love,

Show us what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in Your ways, if only we seek and depend on You. Thank You that through our seeking, You transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for allowing the patterns of this world to influence our decisions instead of You. Show us how to continually seek You and Your will in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to transform us more and more to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

A Way in the Wilderness

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

Because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:19, ERV)

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

This is a reminder of true hope. If God can make a way in the wilderness and bring streams to desert spaces, He can bring light and life and hope to us all. Right now, this reminder is needed. God is working even when we cannot see it or feel a change yet. It requires trust on our part, for He is faithful always. May we ever seek the Lord to do the needed new, and trust that He is making a way in our wilderness and sending streams to the dry spaces.

O Lord, You are love,

You’re goodness and grace;

You move great mountains,

That stand in our way.

You bring strength and hope,

In our weariness;

Refreshment and love,

Throughout each new day.

Lord, send flowing streams,

To lifeless in us;

Make way in trials,

Grant strength, Lord Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and trust in You, You meet us where we are. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and You bring refreshment, strength and peace to the parched places in us. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our capacity to choose joy in You. Teach us to hold fast to You and the goodness of Your love to fuel us when we feel empty. Show us how to pour into the lives of those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to meet us where we are, and to supply all that we need to navigate each new day. Amen.

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

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

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

To Become His Poetry

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

This verse makes me think of “in one ear and out the other”, as hearing does not equate to doing or making adjustments. Anyone can hear instruction, advice and direction, but only those who follow it truly have listened with intention. The One who created us, also has a plan and a purpose for our lives. It is up to us to seek Him, listen, and then do what He says. I so appreciate The Passions Translation, as the idea of allowing God’s word to “become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life” is a powerful and beautiful notion. In Ephesians 2:10, (same translation) we are reminded again that “We have become His poetry, a recreated people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us…” It is up to us to not just hear His Word and His instructions, but it requires faith in action to move forward accordingly. I don’t know about you, but I long to live out the poetry that God has intended to spring forth from my life. May we ever seek the Lord to both listen and obey all that He is asking of us, for His every word is meant to lead us to live out a life of love.

The Word of the Lord,

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Is righteous and true;

By His loving grace,

Shows us what to do.

He leads us in love,

To choose do the same;

To walk in His grace,

And honor His Name.

Lord, teach us to love,

To listen and learn;

Put faith in action,

In wisdom, discern.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not simply give us instructions and bid us luck, but rather You teach, equip, empower and lead us through all that we are called to do. Forgive us for the times that we “heard” Your Word, but did nothing to act upon it. Teach us to live a life of love and grace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that all whom we meet encounter Your loving kindness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your Word and seek You to show us how to live it out. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10