Quick to Listen

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 intersections, dear friends: lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG) 

On this Memorial Day, it is a great reminder of how to operate in love, as we remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Because they gave, we are able to express our opinions, worship as we choose, and select whatever path we choose to walk. However, if we love God, and want to love people as we are called to love, this verse is a great reminder of how to go about communicating with those around us. Listening first, rather than spewing opinions or instantly judging others, is how we are called to live. There is righteous anger, but it should be in control and utilized with wisdom and grace, not acted upon in haste or revenge. Patient pursuit of understanding is far more productive than angry exchanges of insults. Through listening, we can discover common ground, and recognize the value in one another, rather than grow angry at a seeming “sacred belief” that seems to differ. Our current political climate seems to dictate ugly banter rather than patient listening and well thought out conversations. Honestly, there are very few people with whom I will even discuss anything even remotely political, as it seems far too risky, as I value friendships far more than topical discussions. However, when something is blatantly wrong, and unjust, that is where righteous anger takes a stand and acts wisely, in a manner that seeks to bring change.  Love is patient and love is kind, and as we choose to love this way, good grows and communities flourish. May we ever seek to listen to each other; being slow to speak and slow to anger, so that peace may reign and love may abound. 

May we seek listen, 

And ever be wise; 

Slow to choose to speak, 

Grace uncompromised. 

Be slow to anger, 

And when anger reigns; 

Use it to bring change, 

Rather than disdain. 

Brothers and sisters,  

May we ever choose; 

To love at all times, 

So goodness is proved. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to lay down one’s life as a sacrifice. Thank You for all those who have laid down their lives for us to enjoy the freedom we know and love as a nation. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened in love first, and have spoken in haste or been quick to grow angry. Teach us to listen in love; being slow to speak and slow to anger. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love and seek You to love the same way. 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

Refuge, Strength and Help

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, You’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You. – (Psalm 46:1, TPT)

 

I try not to catch too much of the news, as more than one update per day does nothing but cause anxiety in anyone. Yes, it is wise to be aware and recognize the reality of the situation and risk that we all are living in, but bombarding ourselves with a constant barrage of numbers and images only instills fear. If we are staying at home as ordered, we ought to be okay. God is our protection and source of strength; ready to help us in times like these. If peace is lacking; He is peace. If all seems chaotic and out of control; Christ brings calm and order. When our strength is sapped, His is steadfast. It is a matter of choice as to where we turn in times of trial. As we turn to God, we find safety, strength and help; whereas when we rely on our own devices, we end up fearful, stressed out and anxious about everything. May we turn to God, who is our refuge, strength and help, as He brings peace in the places within us that need it most.

For me, what seemed like a random impulse purchase on Amazon, actually turned out to likely be some listening to the still small voice within. I struggle staying put, especially when I feel like I have to stay seated and stuck in one area for any length of time. After the addition of a long string of color-changing LED lights around the perimeter of the room where I need to spend my days during the week for work, it suddenly is a calmer, more welcome space, that I find easier to be in. More of a refuge and less of a space that I’m stuck. God cares about the little things, and it is amazing what a tremendous difference the little things make in the overall scheme of an entire day. God is good, and He provides as we abide; may we ever choose seek Him for refuge, help and strength.

 

God is my refuge, wp-15854082280268137732906669162830.jpg

In whom I abide;

He is my safe space,

Where true peace resides.

The Lord is my strength,

And help as I seek;

Ever He’s faithful,

Provider of peace.

When there is chaos,

His love brings the calm;

Unending mercy,

Our true healing balm.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You and You answer. Thank You that You are our refuge, strength and help whenever we call on Your Name. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Forgive us for our anxiousness when chaos and uncertainty surround us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the anchor in our storms and the peace when there is chaos within. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer refuge, strength and help so that they too, may find comfort and peace in these times of such uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our refuge, strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

One Day At A Time

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” – (Isaiah 35:4, NIV)

“Courage! Take heart! God is right here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:4, MSG)

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here – your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.” – (Isaiah 35:4, VOICE)

 

Right now, life feels surreal. It is as if we are all caught in a bizarre dream, and are merely waiting to wake up. For me, I am a one-day-at-a-time sort of person anyway, so my brain is already wired to not get too hung up on what may lie ahead over the next several weeks. When life is operating as usual, taking things one day at a time allows me to be present and focused on only what lies directly before me. If I permit my mind to wander too far ahead, it only breeds anxiety as to how everything will be accomplished in the time granted. Now, more than ever, I need to remain focused on each day as it comes. Yes, it is wise to prepare and plan in general, but there is no need, nor any point, in attempting to map out details that are too far off to determine. God grants us wisdom and insight as we ask, and He provides what we need to navigate each new day. The Lord is our strength and our strong tower; in Him we are safe and find we have what we need. May we give all of our worries and fears to God, as He comes to put all things right, and saves us with His goodness and love.

 

Take strength, have courage,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s nothing to fear;

All is in God’s hands,

His presence is near.

Despite what we see,

God will make a way;

Over rough terrain,

He’ll lead us each day.

The wrong things made right,

In His faithful hands;

Safety and our strength,

Firm in Him, choose stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mighty to save. Thank You that as we seek You, You are our strength, courage and safety. Thank You that You provide where we lack, and Your love leads us in the direction we are meant to go. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety in the face of so many unknowns. Teach us to trust You more, as You are for us and faithful to lead us, always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your strength and courage, goodness and grace in the midst of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all things in Your capable hands, and trust You to lead and guide us each day, one day at a time. 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 

Rise Up in Courage

“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, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

 

This is a timely reminder, as there is an uneasiness, driven by fear, that is greatly impacting society right now. Though the spread of sickness is a reality, it is not something that we need to fear to the point of panic; rather, we ought to walk in wisdom and take preventative measures to stay safe and well. We are commanded to be strong and brave. Strength and courage come when we choose to trust in God, rather than panic at every story released by the press. Hand washing and maintaining healthy habits are ways that we can be wise. May we set our hearts and minds on He who is our strength, and choose to walk in courage knowing that God is with us every step we take.

 

As for mom, she is doing well. There have been several cases of norovirus (puking flu) where she is living, and they placed residents on quarantine to help prevent further spread around the complex. The dining facility is closed for corporate meals, and instead, they are delivering meals to each apartment, individually. All activities are cancelled as well, so if it weren’t for mom’s fabulous friends who come and rescue her to get out and about, she would be quite restless. Thankfully, she is remaining well and aptly entertained by loving friends.  Mom is strong and courageous, and she knows well, that God is with her, everywhere she goes.

 

We are commanded, Rise Up in Courage

Be strong and be brave;

Not by our own will,

But through Him who saves.

For God doesn’t give,

A spirit of fear;

He grants us wisdom,

And draws ever near.

Rise up in courage,

Be strong in His love;

His grace is present,

All help from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to the strength and courage that You supply. Thank You that You are always with us and You never leave us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see solutions to what lies before us. We ask that You would bring healing to all those impacted by illness, protect all from further spread, especially those with compromised immune systems, and that You would grant us Your wisdom and peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that fear would flee and peace would be present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose courage and strength in You, knowing that You are with us every step that we take. 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

 

Gifts to Succeed

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This is an interesting verse to land upon on the Friday of a very long week. Exhaustion is throbbing throughout my frontal lobe, and my resolve needs renewing in a supernatural way. That being said, I know my charge is to lean into God; and as I do, He will supply the strength, wisdom and love to navigate today. The Lord removes hesitations and frustrations, as I give them to Him, and grants me what I need to rise up and run. In the power, love and strength that Christ provides, I am going to choose to enjoying being present with those who are placed around me. I am blessed to work with a phenomenal group of colleagues, have some incredible students and artists, and am gifted with a fantastic group of gymnasts, who support and encourage one another. May we all seek the Lord for strength, as He removes our hesitations and replaces them with power, love and self-discipline.

 

Our God makes a way, Gifts to Succeed

Where it seems there’s none;

He grants us the strength,

To rise, get things done.

He takes away fear,

Provides what we need;

Wisdom, power, love,

His gifts to succeed.

When our strength is gone,

He won’t let us fall;

God grants strength and hope,

To love one and all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know our needs far better than we do. Thank You that as we lean on You, You supply the strength, wisdom, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate each next step. Forgive us for our frustration with our own weariness, for we are fallible and desperately need You. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times, for You are all that we need. Show us how to love others with the strength, power and grace that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our timidity and hesitations, and trust You to provide all that we need to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5

Forgive in Love and Let Go

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Love and friendship thrive when we walk in forgiveness, but fail when we hold grudges and choose not to move on. Not one of us are perfect, and we all are in need of grace. God, in His goodness and perfect love, grants us grace and forgiveness as we ask, and remembers our sins no more. He does not remind us of our failures or past mistakes, but rather extends encouragement and builds us up. We too, are called to do the same. Faults and mistakes are not the same as intentional harm. Though we are always called to forgive, we must be wise as we move forward in love. Sometimes love has to part ways and take a different path to stay safe; body, heart, mind and soul. Most often, our relationships prosper as we forgive faults and failures, moving forward in love as we are called to do. We all fall short and desperately need grace. What a treasure when we have love and friendship that forgive faults and love us where we are, as we are. May we choose to forgive in love, letting go of the past and moving forward, allowing each new day to be a fresh start.

 

To love is a choice, Confidence in Christ

It chooses forgive;

Looks past others faults,

Loves well and lets live.

Love does not hold on,

To mistakes gone by;

Instead looks forward,

Brings grace into life.

The strongest of bonds,

Are formed by His grace;

Forgiving in love,

Completely embraced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive our faults and failures and do not remind us of them over and over again. Thank You that when You forgive, it is finished. Thank You that You show us what it means to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked forgiveness, or have brought things back up that needed to be left in the past. Teach us how to forgive and move forward, releasing what was into Your hands. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, come to know and understand Your forgiveness and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to forgive in love and let go. Amen.

 

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

 

It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:5

 

Poetry Lived Out

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)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. 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

 

Clear Acts of Mercy

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Live kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see the new Star Wars movie. What I love about the Star Wars series is that there is an ongoing theme of “good triumphs over evil” as the saga between the Imperial Empire and the Rebellion continues throughout with new generations of Jedi. Without being a spoiler, it was clear acts of mercy and choosing good that brought about Jedi success – both at pivotal moments in the movie, and as the story concluded. In real life, the same holds true when we choose to extend mercy and goodness, denying our initial thought of revenge or retaliation. God’s grace enters in, and something happens in the hearts of both the merciful and the one receiving grace, to change the circumstance for the better. It may not be immediate and dramatic, but such acts of love and mercy make their way into hearts, and one cannot help but be changed as the recipient of undeserved mercy. That is how Christ came to us. While we were yet sinners, He loved. In our darkness and ugliness, He brought light and life and love. May we choose to go forth in the goodness of God, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, all of the days of our lives.

 

The Lord has shown us,Clear Acts of Mercy

What it is to love;

Act justly, give grace,

Like God up above.

As we humbly walk,

And follow the Lord;

We love as He loves,

Mercy is outpoured.

For each act of grace,

And mercy we choose;

Is a way to show,

God’s blessed good news.

For He came to us,

Full of love and grace;

Teaches us mercy,

As we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Thank You that You modeled a life lived accordingly through Your Son, and equip us to do the same by Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we neglect Your still small voice within that tells us how to act justly and live mercifully in You. Teach us to listen and follow Your leading, so that we may humbly walk beside You, extending mercy, grace and goodness to all. Show us how to love those around us in this way, even when it is difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the kindness and mercy that You continually show unto us. Let our lives be an offering of the overflow of Your goodness and grace. 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

In Trust, I Rise

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life. – (Psalm 119:147, TPT)

 

Early mornings have been my favorite time of day for many years. When I was a small child, rising early meant the promise of watching cartoons prior to whatever plans the day held. As I grew older, I discovered the beauty found in the silent stillness, while most of the world still sleeps. For an introvert in a highly interactive role, rising early to ready myself for the day, is essential. Some days, it is praying, and others, it is a sort of crying out for help, as I seek strength and wisdom to find the fortitude to forge forward in faith. No matter how I wake and approach God, He is faithful to meet me as I am. His word is alive and active; ever teaching, correcting, and challenging me to be more of who He is calling me to become. I trust Him and place my hope in He who is faithful forever. May we ever pursue our Provider, and trust His word to work in our lives.

 

Before dawn appears, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

In faith, I choose rise;

To call on the Lord,

Have Him lead my life.

For as I choose trust,

Always I have found;

He’s faithful and true,

His wisdom is sound.

Help me to live well,

A life built on trust;

Renewed each morning,

Wise, faithful and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whenever we come to You and pray to You, You are faithful to hear us. Thank You that we can trust in Your word. Thank You for the gift of early mornings and the capacity to rise early. Thank You for the gift of the silence of early mornings, while the world still sleeps. Forgive us for not being intentional in our pursuit of You and Your word. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be purposeful in prayer and seek to study and know Your word. Show us how to love those around us with faithfulness and grace, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You and choose to spend time seeking You, because You are faithful and worthy of all of our trust. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

After spending yesterday afternoon with my boys and dear friend, who is an incredible photographer, as she captured fantastic photos of each of my blessings for their senior pictures, I find the above verse from Psalm 40 incredibly fitting this morning as I reflect. These boys are two of the most incredible gifts that I have ever received, and the works and miracles that have taken place from their premature entry into the world up to now, more than seventeen years later, account for countless wonders that have shown me God’s love, over and over again. Creative and kind, tenderhearted and wise beyond their years, to witness their lives unfold as they navigate near adulthood floods my heart with gratitude and awe. Each time I catch a glimpse of either of my children, I am reminded of the goodness of God. May we remember with gratitude, the wonderful works and miracles found in God, and the countless expressions of love that He shows us each new day that we are granted.

The boys and I were delighted to catch mom on our drive home, as she and my sister’s family were a few minutes away from dinner, so the timing seemed to work well. Mom loved hearing about her grandsons’ senior photoshoot, and we were thrilled to hear the excitement in her voice about her new-found capacity to stand at the island in the kitchen and lend a hand with dinner preparation. For each of us, we sat in a space of gratitude for the works that God is doing.

 

The wonderful works, img_2019-10-16_03-55-198198983554930588560.jpg

Of God’s mighty hands;

Too many to count,

For His love is grand.

A love that exceeds,

All depth that we feel;

Grace, strength and goodness,

His blessings reveal.

In awe and wonder,

May we give God praise;

One beyond compare,

His love, all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonders You have done for us and planned for us. Thank You that the work of Your hands on our behalf is limitless. Forgive us for even a moment of taking Your goodness and blessings for granted. Teach us to appreciate every single blessing; for You know our hearts and bless us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart for them known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless wonders and blessings You have granted in our lives, and for how perfectly, You love. Amen.

 

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

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