To Lead with Listening

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

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

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

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

Selected to Serve

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – (Philippians 2:5-7, NIV)

In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. – (Philippians 2:5-7, ERV)

And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let His mindset become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet He gave no thought to seizing equality with God as His supreme prize. Instead He emptied Himself of His outward glory by reducing Himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! – (Philippians 2:5-7, TPT)

 

Jesus was the ultimate example of how we ought to relate to one another. He let go of who He was so that He could love all in a way that was tangible and approachable. Heaven came to earth and walked among us. The Creator of all that is and was and ever will be, set down His deity to become like us, so that we might understand what love means. Jesus did not come as a king demanding to rule, but rather as one who served and loved, helped and healed, touched and taught. By serving in love, Jesus influenced the hearts of humans for all of eternity. We are called to do the same. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may love and serve with the same mindset that Christ has for us.

 

How vast is the love, Healed Hands Reach Out

That set throne aside;

To be made like man,

Deity denied?

And O so much more,

Jesus came and gave;

He taught, lived and loved

Healed, sacrificed, saved.

O how the Lord loves,

Still unto this day;

Contending for us,

To walk in His way.

We are also called,

To choose do the same;

To love and to serve,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Jesus. Thank You Jesus for the example You lived, and for Your ongoing help through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You showed us what it looks like to serve and love. Forgive us for not following the example that You are calling us to walk out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose loving kindness, regardless of what we receive. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to walk in Your ways and do Your will, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. – Ephesians 6:7

The Ultimate Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever 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)

 

Because God loved us, His created, so much, He sent His Son to make Himself tangible and approachable to all. Jesus made the way for all who choose to believe, to have life eternal in Him. This blessed assurance provides hope, peace, comfort and removes fear from all that lies ahead. No matter how tumultuous life can become, there is so much more waiting for us when our time here is done. Though we mourn loss of loved ones as we have to adjust to life without their tangible presence, we may also rejoice for those who know Him, as they enter into eternal glory. Additionally, when we know the Lord as well, goodbye is really just a “see you later.” One day, we will be reunited with those who have gone before us to be with the Lord. Imagine the celebration that will take place when we see Jesus face-to-face, and again join with loved ones who have gone ahead of us. May we rejoice in the incredible love that God has for each of us, as His Son showed us what He is like and how greatly He truly loves.

 

The ultimate love, Healed Hands Reach Out

Chooses truly see;

Past every flaw,

And looks to meet needs.

There’s no greater love,

Than God’s sacrifice;

A love undeserved,

Paid ultimate price.

A death undeserved,

In our place He chose;

Faced the darkest grave,

And third day, He rose.

He went on ahead,

To prepare a place;

For all who believe,

His welcome embrace.

May we look to God,

Ever seek His face;

Trust all that He is,

And unending grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You loved, we too, may come to know love. Thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, who made love tangible for all to see and understand. Forgive us for the times that we let go of hope and allow our struggles to define what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that despite the hard things that we walk through and endure, there is everlasting hope to be held in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your love and provides hope for what is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for our everlasting hope, and embrace the grace that You alone give. Amen.

 

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

 

In Your unfailing love you will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13

A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

The Character of God

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15, NIV)

My Lord, you are a kind and merciful God. You are patient, loyal, and full of love. – (Psalm 86:15, ERV)

But Lord, your nurturing love is tender and gentle. You are slow to get angry yet so swift to show your faithful love. You are full of abounding grace and truth. – (Psalm 86:15, TPT)

 

Last evening, after a bonus dinner date night and a few games of Cribbage, the Viking and I began watching The Shack. I had read the book years ago and had loved it, so I was eagerly anticipating the movie version for comparison. What I loved most about the portion of the movie we have gotten through so far (we have about an hour to go), is that they did an excellent job of portraying the nature of God. All of the attributes listed in the various translations of the Bible above, came through in the character who played God. Compassion and grace, kindness and mercy, were clearly conveyed through a tender, gentle and nurturing love. The character of God was one whom was approachable, and could love and soften even the hardest of hearts. Though it is a human interpretation of the heavenly realm, it grants us a great reminder of the depth and breadth of His love for us all. May we ever seek the Lord, who is kind and merciful, patient, loyal, and full of love.

 

Tender and gentle, The Shack

Ever rich in love;

Full of compassion,

The Lord God above.

Slow to be angered,

And quick to forgive;

A heart that knows us,

With goodness to give.

May we ever seek,

The Lord God above;

For He’s always near,

With arms full of love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving, kind and compassionate; slow to anger and full of grace. Thank You that You are gentle and nurturing, and that You answer all who seek You. Forgive us for our distorted perception of who You are, and show Yourself to us so that we better understand who You are and how You love. Lead us to love those around us in a way that grants kindness, compassion, gentleness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek to know You more, so that we may become more like You. Amen.

 

 

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

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. – Genesis 1:31a

Peace in His Power

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

“Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do.” – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

“Dear God, my Master, You created earth and sky by Your great power – by merely stretching out Your arm! There is nothing You can’t do.” – (Jeremiah 32:17, MSG)

 

When pressure is on or things take an unexpected turn, God is ever-present and nothing surprises Him. He who made the heavens and earth can help us face and overcome anything that comes our way. God walks before us, beside us and behind us in all things and at all times. There is nothing too difficult for God. As we draw nearer to Him, we become more aware of His presence and His power that are available, if only we seek Him. Today marks the start of our ten-day countdown to our wedding. Though there is much to do to prepare, I do not feel stressed nor overwhelmed, for I know that God is with us and for us, and that He will provide where we lack – be it time, energy, strength or peace. He who can silence a storm with a single phrase, can help us navigate and orchestrate all that is yet to be done. May we ever seek the Lord, who made the heavens and earth by His mighty hand, for nothing is too difficult for Him.

 

God of all power,

dsc045002000268283.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Strength and wisdom too;

Comes as we seek Him,

All things He can do.

Brings peace in chaos,

Strength when we are weak;

Power, provision,

He’s near as we seek.

Let us choose draw near,

To our God above;

We’re held in His hands,

Surrounded in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who created the heavens and the earth, are approachable and ready to help in our spaces of lack. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You give peace in Your presence, and that we need not worry, for You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for allowing challenges or daunting tasks to distract us from the help and peace that You provide in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your peace and help in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the power present in and through You. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

The Heart of a Shepherd

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – (Luke 2:16-18, NIV)

 

I am continuing to revisit and ponder the story of the shepherds and the role that God called them to play when Jesus was born. Not only were they the first people to witness the miracle of His birth, but they were also the first to share the good news of His long-awaited arrival. These “lowly” shepherds understood the significance of Who was lying in the manger before them, so they went out and shared with others, the awe and wonder that they had just beheld. Rather than being repelled by these shepherds, people were amazed at what they heard. What had been foretold so long ago, had finally come to pass. I imagine it was the hope that had been missing, finally being spoken aloud. Today, it is no different. For so many, hope is absent, and the need to know about or be reminded of the arrival and the reason for the season, is critical. People who normally would be repelled by an invitation to hear, are receptive and willing to partake in candlelight services and “traditional” Christmas activities where the truth about Christmas is told. May we each have the heart of a shepherd and embrace the hope that we know, so that we too are eager to share this hope with those who need it most.

 

The shepherds who watched, The Heart of a Shepherd

Their flocks through the night;

Were by God chosen,

To see first His light.

The angel declared,

What they could go see;

As God had come down,

For you and for me.

The shepherds, they ran,

To find as they’d heard;

In awe and wonder,

They witnessed God’s word.

This amazing sight,

The glory beheld;

Led them to go out,

And of this news tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show the least of us Your glory in incredible ways, and give us the grace to share with others, the beauty of Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You came down and made Yourself approachable and tangible to ordinary people. Forgive us for thinking that we have to be anything other than ourselves to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love as You love each of us. Help us to make You accessible to many through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate in awe and wonder, the incredible gift You gave us through Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Turn to Trust

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NLT)

When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon You alone. – (Psalm 56:3, VOICE)

When I get really afraid I come to You in trust. – (Psalm 56:3, MSG)

 

I so appreciate that these were the honest words prayed by the heart of David, who was a mighty warrior. As one who had fought lions, giants, armies, elements, exhaustion and having to endure the anguish of alone, he identified and admitted his fear, and recognized and ran to the One in whom he knew he could trust. God was faithful to be present and protect David, despite the times of trial that he endured. The very same God who was worthy of such trust for David, remains present, approachable and available for each of us today. If fear attempts to find footing, we have One to whom we can run. May we depend securely upon the Lord alone, for He is the One in whom we can place all of our trust.

 

When fear tries creep in,Compassion in Confrontations

May we turn to trust;

For our God alone,

Is faithful and just.

As we choose let go,

Give God all our fear;

He makes His heart known,

Through His drawing near.

To come still closer,

The Lord welcomes us;

To release each fear,

And trust in Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can come to You and trust You to be present and faithful to remain with us. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for choosing to remain frozen in our fears, rather than running to You and laying them at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring You our every fear, and trust You to lead us and guide us through the spaces that seem far beyond what we are equipped to handle. Show us how to love well, every person that we encounter, so that they might gain glimpses of You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You when we are afraid, knowing that You are faithful; always. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19