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)

 

Listening is an art form that can prevent misunderstanding and bring people closer together. Too often we speak to respond, rather than listen to understand and reply only if necessary. Anger flares and brash words are spoken when we communicate to make our own point, opinion or agenda heard, without taking pause to listen to others around us. I find that the majority of the time, my anger ignites when I jump to conclusions or explain a scenario in my own mind, rather than seeking to listen to whomever did, whatever it was, that incited my frustration to the point of anger. Each time I slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself to listen with the intent to understand, I discover that there is a reason for the words or actions that transpired. By hearing the heart behind the person, anger or frustration fade, and compassion and kindness begin to rise. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and willingness to listen first, so that our response is a reflection of His heart, rather than a rash reaction that is not necessary to bring resolution.

 

Let us each choose first,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To listen in love;

Seek to understand,

With grace from above.

If we’re slow to speak,

There’s less to regret;

Peace has a true chance,

God’s love, our asset.

Allow not anger,

To rise and release;

Instead, choose listen,

Discernment brings peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people who seek listen to understand, speak with intention and grace, and to keep anger in check to prevent words or deeds that cannot be taken back. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our ego or agenda to cause us to assume ill intent in anger, rather than listening with intention to understand all that is involved in what has transpired before us. Teach us to listen first, seeking to understand, so that if and when we respond, it may be done with love and grace. Show us how to love well through listening to those who need to be heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the God who always hears our heart, regardless of what our words or deeds seem to indicate. Be glorified O God, through our decision to listen first and speak with godly intent, only when we understand, keeping anger in check and love abundant. 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

Rendering Reconciliation

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

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

Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I met with a student who often struggles to make good choices behaviorally and academically in the classroom for our one-on-one reading conference, I was reminded of how much truth lies in the words of this verse. As we began, he did an excellent job of explaining what he had learned in the book he had read, and then easily defined words from the vocabulary list. Throughout our meeting together, I praised and encouraged him, as I let him know how impressed I was with his hard work and reminded him how much I believed in his ability to do well each time he invested himself in whatever task the class was being asked to take on. Seemingly out of nowhere, his gaze dropped to the floor, and tears silently began to slide down his cheeks. In disbelief, I sat there for a moment, unsure of what I was meant to do. After taking a moment, I encouraged him a bit more and then asked him if there was anything that I could do to help. He shook his head “no”, so I followed with the question, “I can see that things are pretty tough right now. Do you have hope that they will get better?” He nodded his head up and down and accepted the tissue I offered. Our brief exchange reminded me yet again, just how much kind words matter. May we ever seek the Lord for His guidance to fill us with the words that others need to hear most that are sweet to hear and bring healing to places that are hurting.

 

Kind words do matter, Patient Acceptance

Far more than we know;

They heal the hurting,

And help goodness grow.

Sweet, just like honey,

Such help to the soul;

A salve for our wounds,

As His mercy flows.

Let us choose kindness,

With words that we say;

Healing can happen,

When Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your word that You continue to show us again and again in tangible ways. Thank You that kind words are sweet to the soul and healing to the body. Forgive me for the times that kind words were not the first thought to come to mind or that which escaped my lips. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would listen to Your leading and speak the words that You would have me say. Show me how to love others well with my words, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend kind words to others in such a way, that healing comes to the recipient. Amen.

 

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Forgiveness Fosters Love

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) 

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE) 

 

Our world desperately is in need of the forgiveness of faults to move forward in the freedom that is found in love. Far too often fingers are pointed without taking an honest look in the mirror. We all fall short and make missteps, and at times our errors end up hurting someone near us. If we are walking in love as God calls us to love, we must choose to forgive and move forward. The more we give grace, the greater our friendships grow. Freedom to be human is a tremendous burden lifted, and as we are able to be transparent with those near to us, we are strengthened in our faith and better bonded as dear friends. May we ever choose to be the ones who forgive faults and foster love, just as Jesus has done for us. 

 

As we choose forgive, Faith and Hope in Action

The love we have grows; 

Friendships are strengthened, 

As grace is made known. 

Those who dwell on faults, 

End up in great loss; 

Friendships are ruined, 

Far too great the cost. 

So let us choose love, 

Forgive and give grace; 

Build our bonds closer, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about our every interaction and relationship so much, that You give us guidance as to how to navigate best. Thank You that as we forgive, just as You have forgiven us, You bless us with stronger bonds in the relationships You have granted. Forgive us for dwelling on faults rather than forgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Show us how to love and give grace to those around us, ever strengthening the bonds of friendship that You are building among us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Every Detail Done

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

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 detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. – (Colossians 3:17, MSG)

 

It is a bit intimidating to think about all things that we do, be it word or deed, being done in the name of the Lord. In our broken humanity, we do not always get it right. So often, our words or our actions do not align with what Jesus would do, and we fall short – again and again. This is where we are reminded of our desperate need for our Savior. We need Him to choose and do well each step of the way. Thankfully, if we seek Him and place our trust in Him, He will lead us and guide us in the way we are meant to go, and we can give Him all the glory for His goodness and guidance. May we turn in trust to the Lord to lead us in word and deed, so that we would demonstrate His love through the details of our lives.

 

In all that we do, When the Sun Shines In

Both word and in deed;

May we show His love,

As we seek, He’ll lead.

All thanks be to God,

For His word is true;

He’ll show us the way,

To do as He’d do.

So rise up and seek,

Ask the Lord to guide;

In action and word,

In Him, let’s abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and ask You to lead us and guide us, You will direct our steps so that we may walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You or listen to that which we know is Your best. Teach us to trust You more, as You will give us the words to speak and the steps to take if we only ask You to lead us. Show us how to love those around us as You love, so that all may see Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do Your will and give You praise for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Gentle Answers Abolish Anger

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

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

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

God has placed me in a field where I have the opportunity to put this truth into practice daily. Teens tend to have short fuses, and carry frustration until it finds a foothold so large, that it can no longer be contained. The vast majority of the time, I find that if I speak calm, kind words, and give the student room to have a voice, (appropriately) whatever anger had begun to rage, begins to dissipate as quickly as it had onset. It is no different for adults. When we are already riled up about something, how someone interacts with us, matters. If we are treated with kindness and gentleness, whatever spiked our fury, somehow lessens, and rational thought returns to our heart and mind so that we are able to communicate like civilized human beings. May our every response be gentle and kind, so that we are agents of peace rather than proponents of rage.

 

O Lord, help my words,gentle-answer-mtc

Be gentle and kind;

Words that diffuse rage,

That render hate blind.

May wrath turn away,

With kindness spoken;

Let Your love pour out,

To hurt and broken.

Grant me Your answers,

With love as I speak;

So peace will be known,

And anger made weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us guidance in Your word that shows us how to live and love well. Thank You that gentle answers come from You, if we seek You for strength and direction when angry words or actions move in our direction. Forgive us for reacting in our own rage and making things worse, rather than responding gently to diffuse displeasure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and breathe before we respond to someone who is enraged. Give us Your words to speak gently, so that we may turn away wrath, rather than make it grow. Show us how to love others, even in their fits of frustration, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to equip us with gentle answers to help diffuse anger that comes our way. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Lead for Life

For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and He will guide us until we die. – (Psalm 48:14, NLT)

This God is our God forever and ever. He will lead us from now to the end of time! – (Psalm 48:14, ERV)

 

One of the attributes of God that I appreciate most is His faithfulness. Because He is faithful, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and His promises remain true for all time. When we make the choice to invite God to be the Lord of our lives, He comes close and dwells within us. As we seek Him for answers, He shows us the ways in which we are meant to go. His leading lasts forever, if we are only willing to listen. May we ever look to the Lord and His faithfulness, trusting Him to lead us from now until our days are done.

 

Faithfulness of God,Lead for Life

It knows not an end;

For He’s forever,

Our hope, guide and friend.

He’s promised to lead,

To the end of time;

Always He’s present,

With our best in mind.

So trust in the Lord,

Seek always, His face;

To find direction,

Love, mercy and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God forever and ever. Thank You that You will lead us from now until the end of time. Thank You that we can trust in Your faithfulness, for it endures forever. Forgive us for our lack of faith and trust when trials come. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek and heed Your guidance all of our days, as Your ways are higher than ours. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and observable ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading all of our lives long. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

What We Can Do

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. – (Proverbs 3:27, MSG)

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – (Proverbs 3:27, NLT)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

 

To love well, we must see the need around us and do what we can with what we have. Christ came and modeled what it is to not withhold good when it is within one’s power to help. His willingness to be present in the midst of people’s pain, is the very thing that helped them most. If healing was needed, He not only touched the physical ailment, but He heard their need and brought a love that truly listened, and healed hearts as well. Where there was hunger and seemingly not enough, Christ had the disciples share what they did have, and it was multiplied before their eyes. The very same power that was working in Jesus, is at work in us today. In the spaces where we think we don’t have enough time, talent, or resource, the Lord meets us and provides as we reach out and share what we have to help another in need. Often, the greatest need around us in others, is to be heard and known, as humans are designed to crave connection. May we navigate our days with our eyes open to see the need all around us, so that we might do what we can to be extensions of God’s hands and heart to a hurting world.

 

In our call to love,The Power of the Tongue

May we clearly see;

Help where it’s needed,

Give kindness; it’s free.

Do not withhold good,

But rather, choose give;

Whatever we can,

To better lives lived.

Whatever we do,

When love’s our command;

Is light to the world,

As God’s heart and hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our paths to show us Your hands and heart for us. Thank You that You call us to do what we can for those around us, just as You have done for us. Forgive us for neglecting the needs we see, or for allowing our hearts to become overwhelmed rather than seek You for direction. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your guidance as to how we are meant to meet the needs we see. Show us how to love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we can for those who need help around us. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Divinely Designed

You made me; You created me. Now give me the sense to follow Your commands. – (Psalm 119:73, NLT)

With Your hands You made me and helped me become what I am. Now help me understand Your commands. – (Psalm 119:73, ERV)

 

Because we are His created, we can seek the Lord and ask Him which way we are meant to go. As we ask, He answers, for God is faithful to meet us as we seek Him. Wisdom from the Lord is required to know how to follow His will and walk in His way. Let us seek God, the Giver of light and life, to grant us guidance to understand and obey His commands.

 

Lord, You have made me,Delivering Dreams

Crafted by Your hands;

I need Your wisdom,

To obey Your plans.

Help me understand,

Your will, and not mine;

Help me to obey,

May my heart align.

Please lead me, O Lord,

In all that I do;

So my words and deeds,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created me – that You designed me with Your own hands. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us. Thank You that as we ask, You grant us wisdom and understanding to know how to follow Your commands and walk upright before You. Forgive us for not asking, or for neglecting to do that which we know is the way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and strength, to know Your will and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding to know the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Strength in Waiting

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

 

Everyday, we are faced with decisions to make. Some are simple and require little thought or effort to make, whereas others can be a bit gut-wrenching. In the face of the difficult decisions, we need to be patient, take heart, and wait for the Lord’s guidance, rather than rush to make an irrational choice or avoid an answer all together. Patiently waiting when we are stuck in a space of selection requires courage and trust. When we allow our hearts to hold fast to Him who is faithful, the outcome of our decisions honor God, rather than simply serve ourselves in the moment. Several friends are modeling this for me right now, as they have heard the Lord’s call, taken first steps of obedience, and now are waiting patiently and courageously to know what they are to do next. May we all choose to take heart and persevere, regardless of how things appear. God is faithful, and He is worthy of our trust in Him.

 

No matter what comes,strength-in-waiting

Take heart and don’t quit;

The Lord is our help,

Our hope to make it.

Be strong and be brave,

For the Lord is near;

He helps those who ask,

Each request, He hears.

Wait for the Lord’s help,

Don’t quit, stay with God;

He is our answer,

To overcome odds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You. Thank You that You hear us and help us when we call on Your Name. Thank You that You give us strength and courage to wait patiently for You and Your timing, as You know what is best, despite our desire for immediate answers. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait patiently for You with courage and strength, confident that You will help us in the way that is best. Show us how to love those around us according to Your goodness and grace. May many come forever into Your sweet embrace. Be glorified O God, as we wait patiently for You and Your help in our spaces of need. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Mercy Wins

Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that set us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time. – (James 2:12-13, MSG)

 

If our words and deeds do not reflect that which we profess, we are inviting judgment upon ourselves. God sent His Son to show us the way in which we are meant to live. Jesus modeled a life of mercy, love and grace to those around Him, and we are called to do likewise. This is not something that we are expected to do in our own wisdom nor strength, but it is by His goodness and grace that we are able to go forth and give the very things that we have been given. May we use our days to extend kindness and grace, so that the magnitude of God’s mercy can be made evident through our words and deeds.

 

Go forth in kindness,Who is My Neighbor 2

As we have been called;

For mercy is seen,

When offered to all.

Help us treat others,

As You so love us;

So people might see,

The hope in Jesus.

Kindness always wins,

As judgment repels;

Let us move in grace,

And love like Christ well.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to act kindly and to be merciful. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do the same when we seek You for strength. Forgive us for the times that we have not been kind or merciful to those who needed it most. Teach us to turn to You in those moments when kindness and grace are the furthest things from what we desire to give, so that we may act according to Your will, not our own. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that our kindness and mercy move hearts to look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and guidance to speak and act according to Your mercy and grace, so that we may move in kindness wherever we go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31