Forego Foolish Debates

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. – (Titus 3:9, NIV)

Stay away from those who have foolish arguments, who talk about useless family histories, or who make trouble and fight about what the Law of Moses teaches. These things are useless and will not help anyone. – (Titus 3:9, ERV)

Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. – (Titus 3:9, VOICE)

Currently, this could be stated as “do not engage in social media debates and arguments, as nothing good ever comes from them.” The problem with social media is that people hide behind a screen. Words fly into chat boxes and reply lines with little regard for how the words could be interpreted. Without voice and body language, an enormous piece of intent is absent. It is far too easy to misconstrue what is written, and take offense when no harm was intended. Additionally, filters seem to be removed, as there is no visual reception of how a reader interprets what is typed in a box. Yes, communicating and sharing ideas is important, yet it seems to go far better when it is a face-to-face exchange. There is time for pause, real listening, and thoughtful reply. May we seek the Lord to guide us in the conversations we ought to have, and those which do nothing to benefit either person.

Fall not in the trap,

Of foolish debates;

Love is our purpose,

Not words that berate.

God show us the way,

To listen to learn;

And build new bridges,

Help us to discern.

Please fill up our hearts,

With purpose to love;

So kindness will lead,

Through grace from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your patience and kindness is timeless, and that Your word is true and applicable today. Forgive us for the times that we have engaged in useless arguments or debates, rather than chosen to love. Teach us when to walk away and when to engage in a loving and productive manner. Show us how to love first, rather than worry about being right or making our thoughts or opinions known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to avoid foolish controversies and arguments, and instead live a life that is ruled by love. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Called to Compassion

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV)

Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. – (Romans 12:15, TPT)

If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE)

We are called to be compassionate and to have empathy for one another. This is natural with those with whom we are closest, but it requires an intentional decision to love enough to invest in the hearts of others. When we do, we understand and care about what transpires in the lives of those around us. A love that is true is one that celebrates with others when good comes their way, and mourns alongside them when losses are experienced. Such love not only asks how others are doing, but is prepared to receive honest answers through active and intentional listening. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in compassion and empathy for those around us, so that we may truly love as we are called to love by God.

To love as God loves,

Requires intent;

To seek understand,

Purposeful time spent.

Called to compassion,

To walk alongside;

Love for the hurting,

With arms open wide.

And when there’s reason,

To rise and rejoice;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In praise, lift each voice.

Through ev’ry season,

Choose to truly love;

For that’s how others,

Know they are thought of.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to compassion and empathy for those around us. Thank You that You showed us through Your Son, what such love looks like. Jesus rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and wept with those in mourning. Forgive us for the times that we either ignored an opportunity to love well, or sought to help without truly responding in love. Show us how to celebrate with those who celebrate and to mourn with those who are grieving. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart for those around us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

The Power of Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, NIV)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, MSG)

Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits. – (Proverbs 16:24, TPT)

The power held in the words we speak is incredible. When we speak with kindness and grace, souls can be soothed and health improved. As my son continues on his road to healing, it is amazing to hear the strength returning to his voice. Family and dear friends have been in communication with him, and I can hear in his voice the benefit of kind encouraging words spoken or sent to him. For me, I have experienced tremendous kindness and grace from those around me, and I am certain it is one of the ways that God supplies His strength. May we ever speak gracious, kind and life-giving words to those around us, for there is power present when we speak sweet words of life.

Each word that we speak,

Can be used for good;

For grace and kindness,

Blessings understood.

Sweetness to the soul,

Goodness for the health;

A gift of kind words,

Give love that is felt.

May we mind our words,

Deliver them well;

The good that they bring,

Space of peace to dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and power present in the words we speak. Thank You that when we communicate with goodness and grace, You bless the hearer beyond what we realize. Forgive us for the times that we have not used our words well. Teach us to ever communicate in ways that extend Your goodness and kindness. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging, life-giving words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak life to all. Amen.

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

With Thunder and Grace

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ – (Job 37:5-6, NIV)

God’s thundering voice is amazing! He does great things that we cannot understand. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth.’ And He says to the rain, ‘Pour down on the earth.’ – (Job 37:5-6, ERV)

The voice of God thunders wondrously. He does magnificent things, beyond our comprehension. To the snow, He issues the order, “Go! Fall on the earth.” And to the rain shower, “He says, “Show your power, beat down heavy on the earth!” – (Job 37:5-6, VOICE)

I love that the same God who thunders in marvelous ways, also will gently whisper in ways that show us His love. In our home, His “dew of heaven” was delivered to us yesterday. After much searching, and God’s incredible intervention, we welcomed another sweet puppy into our home. Tali, which is Hebrew for dew of heaven, completes what was missing. She is my husband’s dream dog, and Thor’s greatest blessing. He was in desperate need of companionship, and this beautiful, sweet pup is a perfect playmate already. Though she is tiny (in comparison to Thor), she holds her ground and uses her voice to instruct Thor as to how to play best. I love watching the gently falling snow and the powerful, torrential rains. Much in the same way, these two romp and play like a downpour, yet they also settle and rest with ease, just as snow silently drifts and rests on the ground. God is good, and He reminds us in grand and powerful ways and in gentle whispers. May we ever seek the Lord and His voice, as He shows us the way to go and demonstrates His mighty love for us all.

In power, He speaks,

With love, He exclaims;

His goodness and strength,

Blessed be His Name.

He commands the rain,

Torrentially fall;

And calls to the snow,

Fall softly below.

The very same God,

To us does the same;

In peace, shows His love,

His power proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are both power and peace. Thank You that You demonstrate Your love for us with passion and gentleness. Forgive us for seeing one or the other as more valid. Teach us to recognize both Your downpours and Your gently falling grace, as we learn to identify Your voice and ever seek Your face. Show us how to love one another as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for both Your magnificent power and unending grace. Amen.

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

“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” He said. “Peace! Be strong now, be strong.” When He spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength.” – Daniel 10:19

Faithful to Hold

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NIV) 

But the Lord is faithful; He will make you strong and guard you from satanic attacks of every kind. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, TLB) 

Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, VOICE) 

God is faithful. He strengthens us when we feel weak, and He is our protector and help when evil seems to surround us. Much of our struggle with evil is subtle. Our heart, our mind, and our character are challenged by the darkness. That voice or thought that tells us anything about who we are that does not align with God’s word, is an evil assault on our soul. The more we are immersed in His word, the truth that sets us free, the better we are able to stand strong and secure in the truth that He assures us is so. We are His; we are chosen; He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. God is faithful to meet us in our fear and doubt, and remind us again of what is true. His strength is mightier than anything that may come against us, and He promises are true forever. May we seek and invest time in pursuing God; for He is faithful and with strengthen and protect us from all that comes against us. 

Promises of God, 

The truth that remains; 

No matter what comes, 

We can trust His Name. 

The lies that assault, 

Who we truly are; 

From the pit of hell, 

Intended to scar. 

But God, in His love, 

Speaks truth to each heart; 

Affirming in grace, 

In Him, who we are. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to guard and protect us from evil as we trust and depend on You. Thank You that You speak truth to every heart that seeks You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our fears and doubts. Teach us to lean into You and to listen to what You have to say. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends safety and goodness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to keep us safe from all evil. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Zoom into Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life. – (Philippians 4:6, TPT)

 

Today will be the first official day of remote learning. The first day of instructing online; the first day of posting parent instructional videos; and the first opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices of my students on Zoom. I would be lying if I said I have not been a bit anxious the last few weeks, as we have been unpacking and preparing to go “live”. Learning an entirely new way of instructing and how to organize and upload and post everything, for three different preps has stretched and challenged me beyond what I thought I could handle. With much prayer and the blessed provision of professional learning communities, I think that I am ready to launch. As I was finishing up my final video posts for parents last evening, I checked my school email. To my surprise, there was a wonderful message from one of my Language Arts and Social Studies students, letting me know how excited he is to get started with remote learning today! He filled me in on a bit of what he has been doing under his mom’s tutelage, and informed me that he was pretty much an expert on Zoom, having watched his mom participate in countless meetings over the past several weeks. I imagine that you too, can understand the power held in the encouraging words of my 6th grade student. All of the struggles over the past several weeks to navigate this new learning, suddenly did not matter. Knowing that at least one student is eager and ready to get started, makes it all worthwhile. It is easy to forget that we are often God’s hands or His voice to soothe anxiety and bring calm to those around us. He utilizes His people to make His heart tangible so that we may know His peace. Prayers are often answered through the people He provides, and one of those for me was a simple email from a sixth grader. Yes, I am still a bit nervous about today, but it is a first-day-of-school, can’t-wait-to-meet-them, sort of feeling. These are my kids whom I have not seen in more than a month. Today, I get to begin to reconnect and see and hear them for myself. More than an email – live voices and smiling faces. It will be good, and I am glad. May anxiety melt away as we lift our concerns to God. He hears and He cares, and He is the perfecter of our peace.

 

Choose lift to the Lord,

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Classroom vs. Virtual Room Preparations…

Each anxiety;

For He hears and cares,

Is near and ready.

He brings us His peace,

Most generously;

His kindness and grace,

Sets anxiousness free.

Come before the Lord,

Seek His help and grace;

His goodness and strength,

He’ll fill up our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that Your goodness and grace wash away our anxiousness when we bring our concerns before You. Thank You that You utilize people to make Your heart tangible. Forgive us for allowing our anxiousness to overwhelm us, rather than slowing down and setting all at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide all that we need to navigate every new circumstance and situation when we rely on You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be the encouragement, strength, or peace that is needed to ease away anxiousness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for Your care and concern for us, individually, and the peace that is provided through Your incredible love. Amen.

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Working Everything 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)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

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God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Protect Well Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TPT)

 

The condition of our hearts is of utmost importance, for from them flows everything we think, say and do. As time is intentionally invested with God, He refines our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The more care we place into guarding our hearts from taking in what does not belong, the better the condition of our inmost being, and consequently, the more life-giving our words and deeds become. May we ever guard our hearts so that light, life and love are the things that flow out of our lives.

 

Protect well your heart, Protect Well Your Heart

Give care to each thought;

For from deep within,

Our affections are sought.

If we take in good,

Seek after the Lord;

The same flows from us,

All grace He affords.

Pursue with intent,

God and His great grace;

Allow Him to reign,

As love shapes our ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and seek You to guard our hearts, You protect and refine us to better reflect Your love to the world. Thank You that in You, there is an overflow to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anything other than Your truth to have a voice in our lives. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be protected and directed by the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to make room for what You are doing in us to overflow through love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek Your guidance in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

So Loved

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NIV)

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

God so loved that He gave. He gave all so that we might come to know His love that leads to life everlasting with Him. The very same God who loves us to life, calls us to love each other. His example demonstrates what love truly is. Love gives the best of oneself to others, so that they too, may know and understand the vast depth and breadth of the love that God lavishes upon all who trust in Him. Incredibly, God did not so love the saints, or those who were somehow sinless, (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) but He so loved the world – all of us, all people, for all time – that He gave. There were no qualifiers nor prerequisites, God simply loved His created. In the same way, we are called to love those around us. Not just our friends and family, but all – for all are His created. May we receive and embrace the overwhelming and powerful love that God gives to us, and in turn, go forth and love those around us, so that all may experience the power of His love, personally.

 

Despite how things seem, Measured By Our Maker

One thing shall remain;

The love of the Lord,

Is always the same.

His love chose to give,

Not some, but gave all;

So we might have life,

And answer His call.

God’s love grants us grace,

Brings new life and light;

Hope from the despair,

Beauty and delight.

So, seek first the Lord,

Receive all He gives;

Then go forth, love well,

It is how love lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son to bring us the opportunity to have everlasting life with You. Thank You that when we accept what You offer, we gain grace and forgiveness and love overflowing to go forth and love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, despite the incredible, unending love that You have for us. Teach us to love those around us as we are loved by You. Show us practical and tangible ways to be Your hands, heart and voice in love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible love You have for us, and rely on You to help us love others well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

Let Love Have a Voice

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV)

Words from the wise bring praise, but words from a fool bring destruction. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, ERV)

The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, MSG)

 

As today’s passage continues to point to the power that is packed in our words, again I am reminded of how much we need wisdom to guide each word that we make audible. Words spoken in wisdom are heard and received as a gift, yet those that are not, bring destruction to our reputation. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, so that we may have a filter that weeds out foolish thoughts before we speak them, and insight to communicate gracious words in love.

 

Lord help us to speak, Weighing the Why

Wise words, full of grace;

Spoken in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

Please seal our lips,

When foolish thoughts come;

Protect us, we pray,

So Your will be done.

Grow us in wisdom,

Let love have a voice;

Lead us in Your light,

So all may rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak in Your wisdom and truth. Thank You that as we do, Your love and light and life are shared with those around us. Forgive us for the times we have allowed the foolishness of our own selfishness to have a voice and wound those around us. Teach us to trust and rely on You to guard our hearts and help filter our words, so that what we say offers wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guard our hearts and guide our words, so that each word we speak is a reflection of You. Amen.

 

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

 

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11