Respond Gently

A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. – (Proverbs 15:1, HCSB)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

This is a game-changer in every area of our lives if we abide by it. When someone who is enraged is responded to gently, it seems to flip a switch and bring them back to reality. We tend to match the way that others are speaking to us, so if we are yelling or speaking out in anger and then have someone answer us gently, it is as if the steam that had been built up, is suddenly released, and the press of the fury has fled. I know this to be true in both my home and in my classroom. The challenge is to remember to keep calm and speak with kindness, even when chaos seems inevitable. This is not something we can just do, but rather as we seek God to equip us, He floods us with His peace, and grants us gentle words, even when we desire to do otherwise. We are all a work in progress, and not one of us has this entirely mastered, yet the more we practice, the more natural it becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in grace so that we may always have a gentle response to bring calm to the chaos around us.

A gentle response,

Makes wrath disappear;

It calms the chaos,

And soothes away fear.

For God is our peace,

Ever He is near;

He grants us the words,

To make His love clear.

Help us keep seeking,

To respond like You;

Make grace abundant,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that Jesus showed us over and over again how to respond gently and to love deeply. Forgive us for the times that we have answered anger with anger instead of responding with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to trust You to provide the sort of peaceful response that brings calm and promotes peace for all. Show us how to love others with how we respond in all situations and circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to respond gently when someone around us is riled up. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

How Love is Made Known

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

God provides us the ultimate example of what love is and is not. We are commanded to love God and love people, and He both shows and tells us what it is to love. Patience and kindness should lead us in how we love. Jealousy, pride, unkindness, selfishness and a short temper do not help us show love. In our broken humanity, we all struggle with loving as God does in all things. All it takes is being stuck in Seattle traffic during rush hour to be reminded that we are ALL a work in progress. We have the opportunity to extend love everywhere we go and through everything we do. Imagine what the world would look like if we all sought the Lord to lead us in His love in all that we said and did? Each time that we extend patience and kindness, we are igniting a spark that can spread. For me, when I have been granted patience or kindness when I know I did not deserve it, it caused me to take pause and work to do the same in similar situations. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace to lead us in His incredible love in all things.

Lord, help us to love,

In all that we do;

Let each word and deed,

Reflect Your heart true.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Lead us to love well,

As You call us to.

Help us be gracious,

Wherever we go;

May Your heart shine through,

So love is made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You that You show us what love is and is not, so that we know what You are calling us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked patience or kindness, the times that we have been jealous or rude or proud. Teach us to trust and follow You so that we might extend Your heart to the world through our love. Show us how to be patient and kind in each circumstance we encounter. Help us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love in all that we say and do in every circumstance. 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

Ongoing Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

 This verse is such a wonderful reminder that we are ALL a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived”; we all can continue to be transformed more and more by the goodness of God and His unending grace, if only we are willing to seek and trust in Him. The process is different for everyone, and what we see is not the whole story. We all have challenges and triumphs, detours and direct routes as we navigate this life with the intent to grow more like Jesus. I love that the Lord will not stop in the middle, but rather will continue to work in us and through us as we depend on Him. Though I am certain I have passed the midpoint in this life, I am well aware of the work that still needs to be done. There is always more to learn, and always more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and more to gain. It is only through looking back that we can see how far we have come. For some, change is subtle, as the external has mostly always been a pleasant demeanor, however, the work in the heart is what transforms the mind to think and respond in love in all circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in His love, and recognize that we are all a work in progress and in desperate need of His love and grace.

Confidently trust,

The work is not done;

A lifelong process,

As we seek the Son.

Each day we choose Him,

His love is our guide;

To give as He gives,

With arms open wide.

Lead us in Your love,

To care as You do;

Let Your goodness show,

As we follow You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all a work in progress and that Your work in us will not stop until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that none of us “arrive” and are somehow without room to grow. Forgive us for our expectations and frustrations with others, for You are working in and through all of us. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for growth happens as we seek You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage one another to grow more like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to keep transforming our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love throughout each day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

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

Not Finished Yet

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Lead Us to Love Well

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs, – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate how clearly 1 Corinthians walks us through what love is, and what it is not. God’s love is perfect and people are not. We are broken and fall short, yet we have guidance to lead us to love well. When we pause to look around, we can see evidence of God’s love everywhere. There are those who exemplify this very sort of love beautifully. Two examples that God set before me include my grandmother and my own mom. Both of these women have always exemplified patience and kindness, were/are not easily upset, and did/do not keep record of wrongs. Arrogance was/has no part of who they were/are, and each has always considered others before themselves. Their modeling has continually compelled me to seek the Lord to lead me in love. We are all a work in progress, yet the more we seek the Lord to lead and empower us, the more readily we love well. May we ever seek the One who is love so that we too, may love as He intended.

Love’s patient and kind,

Mom and Gram ❤

Forgiving with grace;

God’s heart to extend,

Throughout all our days.

Love does not envy,

Not full of itself;

Love seeks ways to bless,

To reach out and help.

Love’s not conceited,

It’s humble and kind;

Keeping no records,

Leaves the past behind.

True love looks forward,

Chooses to endure;

Knows love is what lasts,

Faith and hope assured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Love, and that You show us what love is and what it is not. Thank You that we all have been created with the capacity to love and be loved. Forgive us for the times that we have not been patient or kind, when we have been envious or proud, when we’ve acted improperly, been selfish, or held a grudge. Teach us to love as You do, for Your love lasts forever. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. Amen.

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

This is what I command you: Love one another. – John 15:17

Give Thanks in Word and Deed

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, HCSB)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Let every activity of your lives and every word that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you! – (Colossians 3:17, TPT)

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone did EVERYTHING unto Jesus? Love would lead and kindness would be everywhere. Whenever we do things unto God and give thanks to Him, He is glorified as His goodness is honored and His love is made known in a tangible way. We all are a work in progress, yet the more that we seek to let the Lord’s love lead, the more we become accustomed to doing things as His ambassadors of goodness and grace. Love leads when we seek to do things the way that Christ intended. Today, as we gather and give thanks, it is the perfect opportunity to seek the Lord to lead us in every conversation and activity that we participate in, so that God may be made known and glorified through our purposeful and intentional love. May God be glorified as we gather and give thanks.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With goodness and grace;

Lead us in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

God, as we gather,

Show us what to do;

To love in all things,

Choose to honor You.

May Your heart be known,

In all that we do;

Lead us with Your love,

So Your heart shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You love in all that we say and do. Forgive us for all that we’ve said or done that has not represented You well. Continue to show us and grow us to walk in Your ways and to love as You do. Teach us to turn to You to be our Supply for words and actions. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the goodness and grace that are found as we follow Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to honor You with our every word and deed. Amen.

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

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

Trust the Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. The more we seek the Lord, the more we give Him room to work in and through us. He is ever refining and transforming us to be more of who we were created to become. There is always room for us to learn, grow and become better versions of ourselves. The more we learn, the more we recognize there is more to learn. This transformation process is continuous until the day we meet our Maker face-to-face. May we ever seek the Lord to continue the work He has begun in us, so that we might more clearly reflect His heart of love to the world.

O Lord, have Your way,

Transform, bring Your change;

Let all fall away,

Through Love’s great exchange.

You take our ugly,

And use it for good;

You expand our hearts,

To love as we should.

You bring forgiveness,

And grant us Your grace;

Model how to love,

As we live each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You have begun in us is an ongoing transformative work that will not end until we see Your face-to-face. Thank You that Your love for us is ongoing. Forgive us for placing limits on love or rejecting change that transforms us to be more like You. Show us how to listen, learn and grow into more of who You have created us to become. Lead us to love one another with pure and generous hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the transformation that is ever taking place within. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Accept Each Other

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

You will bring God glory when you accept and welcome one another as partners, just as the Anointed One has fully accepted you and received you as His partner. – (Romans 15:7, TPT)

To love one another, we must accept one another, flaws and all. There will never be another human that is perfect in every way. We are all a work in progress. God calls us to love and acceptance, which means that we recognize and value others for who they are. When we see, know and accept one another, we recognize the strengths that others possess and can celebrate the gift that they are to us. Though not all whom we encounter will become our closest friends, we can still accept one another and extend kindness, just as Jesus has done for us. As we do, Christ’s love is made evident and His peace permeates the spaces we are in. May we ever seek to accept one another as Christ accepts us, just as we are, no matter what shape we are in.

Lord, show us the way,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To extend love true;

Accept each other,

Value through and through.

For love’s clearly shown,

As hearts are received;

With kind acceptance,

Extensions of peace.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

So all feel valued,

As Your heart shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first accepted and loved us so that we might go forth and do the same. Thank You that as we seek to see others through Your eyes, we begin to understand the treasure that each person is to You. Forgive us for every time that our words, thoughts or deeds have not clearly reflected Your love and acceptance to those around us. Teach us how to love and accept one another as You do. Show us how to meet each person where they are at and see the strengths that You have placed in them with purpose. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to accept and love all whom You place on our path. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Value Each Other

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV)

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17