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

To Treasure What Lasts

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)

“Don’t save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy them. And thieves can break into your house and steal them. Instead, save your treasures in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, ERV)

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, MSG)

This is the ever-challenging passage that deems it necessary for each of us to take inventory of our priorities. How are we spending our time, talents and resources? Are we hiding them, keeping them for ourselves, or are we looking outward and identifying places where we can love and serve like Jesus? There are many “thieves” out there. For example, comparison is the thief of joy. In a nation that is bursting with so much, the desire to keep up with those around us can take our eyes off of what matters and bring our heart to an ugly space. Rather, if our eyes are fixed on Jesus and all that He has for us, we see the blessings that we already hold, and celebrate the blessings that those around us are given.  Each of us has an inheritance waiting in heaven. It is up to us to embrace the gift that God gives to know that it is already ours. Our perspective shifts when we recognize that this is not our home. We are merely visitors in the here and now, and will spend all of eternity elsewhere. Where we end up will be ours to determine. Will we choose to love God and love people as we are called to do, or will we focus only on what lies before us in hope of ever amassing more? The place that we treasure is demonstrated by how we use what we have been given. I don’t know about you, but I am an ongoing work in progress. I begin my days looking to the Lord, yet life spins quickly around me, and has a way of distracting from that which matters most. Impatience in traffic, frustration with the outspoken, unrest in the isolation… The list goes on and on, as the treasure trolling is in full force. We need God’s grace to grow in His love. He is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, yet it is up to us to pursue Him. May we ever grow closer to He who is our true treasure, and fix our eyes on that which matters most – loving God and loving people.

O Lord, please show us,

Above all to love;

In grace, redeem us,

Set our gaze above.

Help us to treasure,

The things that will last;

Love, grace and kindness,

Doing what You ask.

Lead us in mercy,

Teach us to be kind;

To listen in love,

So hope all may find.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the things You offer are eternal and worth treasuring. Thank You that faith, hope and love are gifts from You that last. Forgive us for the times that we allow earthly things to steal our focus and take our eyes off of You and what matters most. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on that which You intend for is forever. Show us how to love those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to store up our treasures in heaven, for those are the things that last forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord has declared this day that you are His people, His treasured possessions as He promised, and that you are to keep all His commands. – Deuteronomy 26:18

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

Be Willing to Watch

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.” – Acts 20:28

image by Krystii Melaine

“Now it’s up to you.  Be on your toes – both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep.  The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people – God’s people they are – to guard and protect them.  God Himself thought they were worth dying for.” – (The Message)

Our charge, each one of us who calls Him King, is to be on guard, not only for ourselves, but for our communities.  He already paid the ultimate price for our protection, so we ought to be brave in His strength, knowing that His plan is that none would perish.

How exactly am I to be an overseer of both myself and my community?

First, I must be in tune with our Beloved so that I am ever aware, and able to discern the difference between deceit and His direction.

Next, He has granted us both the gift and the grace to present our petitions to Him through prayer.  We are called to be people of prayer.  We are equipped and covered to clearly convey Christ, when we are intentional to listen to His leading.  If we are faithful to speak truth in love, our Heavenly Father will fan the flames in every heart that hears.

Any good that is done through us, is only possible because of the perfect sacrifice our Savior presented on our behalf.  We are covered by His blood and called clean; leaving us equipped and empowered to listen to His leading.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing and able to equip us to accomplish.  Forgive us for our doubts, and help us to never forget that to You, each of us were worth dying for.  May we be ever-listening and always at the ready to do as You ask to protect and preserve our hearts and the hearts of those around us.  Lead us in love Lord, so that not one of us who comes to call You King, should perish.  Amen.

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