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,

dsc062124653222902877319183.jpg

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

His Plans are Good

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

No matter how our circumstances feel, God has good plans for each of us. Though we walk through seasons of heartache or hardship, what comes from it is ultimately good, and often leads to a place of hope and blessing that far exceeds what we could have anticipated or imagined. In my own life, dreams were dashed for a time, and could not imagine how the turn life had taken could lead to the sort of future I had hoped for. Incredibly, God provided and loved me through it and grew and prepared me for the new season I was about to enter. Today, I can look back and see His heart for me through it all. His strength and resolve were deposited in my heart in fresh new ways, and I now know His love far better than I ever had before. Though none of us know for certain what lies ahead, I have hope and trust that it is good. May we ever seek our Savior and trust in Him, as He has good plans for us that include hope and a good future.

 

Despite what we see,

img_2019-02-24_08-11-246229903948669131698.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Hope ever remains;

For God’s plans are good,

As we let Him reign.

Reign within our heart,

And show us the way;

To trust the future,

Your love Lord, we pray.

May all know Your hope,

That fills hearts with love;

Grants courage and trust,

As we seek You above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that in You, we have hope and a future. Forgive us for doubting Your hand in what lies ahead when things grow difficult for a season. Teach us to trust You through all things and at all times, as You are our strength and supply for our every need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer hope for the future and strength for right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the hope and future that You hold in Your hands for each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

 

Finding Refreshment

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – (Matthew 11:29, NIV) 

Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. – (Matthew 11:29, ERV) 

Simply join your life with Mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment in Me. – (Matthew 11:29, TPT) 

 

Jesus longs for all to draw near to Him. He is gentle and humble, willing to teach us the way in which we are meant to live. Rest and refreshment are found as we seek our Savior. The yoke that Christ offers is light and unhindered, whereas on our own, the weight of the world rests heavily and wears us out. May we answer the call of Christ who is drawing us near, and allow His heart to lead us and His love to be our strength. 

 

The way of the Lord, No Matter What Comes

Is loving and right; 

He grants us His grace, 

Calls us His delight. 

Drawn unto Himself, 

His heart is to give; 

Rest to the weary, 

And grace to forgive 

So, let us draw near, 

With hearts full of praise; 

Lay our burdens down, 

And walk in His ways. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that as we learn from You and seek time with You, our lives begin to reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You as we go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn from You and share Your heart with the world. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to learn from You and share Your love with all those whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Lean into Love

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. – (Hebrews 7:19, NLT)

The Law of Moses could not make anything perfect. But now a better hope has been given to us. And with that hope we can come near to God. – (Hebrews 7:19, ERV)

After all, the law could not make anyone or anything perfect. God has now introduced a new and better hope, through which we may draw near to Him. – (Hebrews 7:19, VOICE)

 

Our confident hope is found through drawing near to Jesus. No longer are we weighed down with the burden of abiding by a strict set of rules and regulations for every aspect of our lives, but rather we are called to love God and love each other, and thus by doing so, we fulfill His requirements of us. A life of drawing near to God deepens our love and understanding of what His will is for our lives. Additionally, the better we know the Lord and His heart for us, the more certain we are of our hope in all that is yet to come. May we draw near to God with hearts full of thanks, as He shows us the hope that is found forever in Him.

 

Though all imperfect,

dsc082415099082146050516751.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Weighed down by our sin;

When we go to God,

We are forgiven.

Made right by His grace,

Compelled by His love;

He shows us His hope,

As He’s sought above.

Let’s turn to the Lord,

With hearts full of praise;

Lean into His love,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are no longer required to adhere to an extensive list of rules and regulations to attempt to come before You. Thank You that You made the way for us to come directly to You through the sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You that Your grace covers us and leads us to a life of love that is full of hope in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You, as You are our Source of help and hope forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean into You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that draws others into Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise forever for the hope we have in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

 

 

Peace Through Loving People First

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, NLT)

Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else. – (Romans 12:16, ERV)

Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, TLB)

 

We are called to be at peace with one another. One glimpse at the news, and the work that needs to be done becomes overwhelmingly apparent. What if each one of us began exactly where we are planted? In our neighborhood, our school, our workplace, our city? If each one of us treated everyone with value and respect, and recognized that all people have something to contribute, the political, economic, ethnic, religious, and whatever else separates one from another, could be celebrated and appreciated, rather than utilized to divide. Each one of us is infinitely valued and loved by God. If we are called to love as God loves, then why would we not do the same? May we seek the Lord for His heart for each other so that we may be at peace with one another, willing to be kind to all who cross our path, seeing each as one with infinite worth.

 

May we choose to live, Show the Love

Harmoniously;

Value each other,

With equality.

Each person offers,

What they have to bring;

From which we can learn,

And grow in new things.

Let us strive for peace,

Through kindness and love;

Give good to others,

Let grace be enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people of peace with one another. Thank You that peace does not mean that we have to agree on everything or view the world through the same lens, but rather it is a mutual respect for one another that loves, regardless of opinions and perspectives. Thank You for the areas in our life where we have seen and experienced such peace. Forgive us for the places where we have done anything to prevent peace from being present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love and listen above all else. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who see the world far differently than we do. May Your peace be present, even in the most unlikely of places. Help hurting hearts come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to best love and bring peace into the places where we find ourselves each day. 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

A Fitting Reply

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

Everyone enjoys giving great advice. But how delightful it is to say the right thing at the right time! – (Proverbs 15:23, TPT)

 

Our capacity to give good advice is directly connected to both our wisdom and life experience. If we look for the lesson in the difficulties we walk through, we gain insight and understanding that might be helpful to another. Additionally, if we seek wisdom from the word of God and His heart to understand, our heart becomes better equipped to reach out and speak life to another. The incredible peace found in this is that God will use a willing heart to give the right words at the right time. In as much as the words are intended to bless, encourage or build up another, when they are well-timed for the recipient, the speaker is blessed and encouraged as well. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom as we walk through our days, and glean from the insight that trials display, so that we may give fitting replies to those needing to hear from Him.

 

A fitting reply,

wp-15402085608088414935723196070822.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Brings joy to the heart;

Provision of peace,

Through us, God imparts.

Such delight is found,

At just the right time;

When the Lord is sought,

His wisdom we find.

And all the more joy,

To know that our words;

A fitting response,

That’s meant to be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You utilize every experience that we walk through to grow us in Your wisdom and grace. Thank You that as we seek You to deepen our understanding, You are faithful to impart Your wisdom upon us. Forgive us for not seeking You or for neglecting to depend on You in how we respond to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and actions would be a clear reflection of Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your wisdom in our words of response. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the glory of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to grant us wisdom to reply to those around us in the same way that You would. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Our Faithful Forever Rock

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal. – (Isaiah 26:4, NIV)

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is a rock for all ages. – (Isaiah 26:4, CEB)

 So trust in the Eternal One forever, for He is like a great Rock – strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting. – (Isaiah 26:4, VOICE)

 

The Lord was and is and always will be the One in whom we can trust. Because God is strong, we can depend on Him for strength. His stability steadies us when life brings the sort of storms that shake us to the core. Our trust is secure in the hands of He who knit us together and knows the number of hairs on our head. Each time I have placed my trust in the Lord, rather than my circumstances or own strengths, He has been faithful to meet me and provide what was needed to carry me through, according to His good and perfect will. Even through the seasons of struggle, I can look back and see His hands and His heart that held me and delivered me, as He grew my understanding of His faithfulness and His grace. God is good, and He is strong and secure for all who trust in Him, forever.

 

Choose trust in the Lord,

dsc083293936009573389116774.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For He is our Rock;

Strong, ever steady,

Faithfulness won’t stop.

He has always been,

Is now and shall be;

The One we can trust,

To eternity.

No matter what comes,

In good times and bad;

Trust in the Lord God,

Faith and grace He’ll add.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You forever to be our Rock, who is strong, steady and secure. Thank You that Your faithfulness knows no end. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to trust in You and have either attempted to power through difficulty on our own or changed direction due to the challenge we were designed to walk through. Teach us to trust and depend on You more. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know and understand Your goodness and faithfulness through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and stand firm in Your promises. Amen.

 

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

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? – Psalm 18:31