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

 

 

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

Seek to Speak with Grace

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person. – (Colossians 4:6, CEB)

 

The words that we speak either attract others and build trust, or they repel and turn people away. If we are seeking the Lord’s wisdom and pursuing insight through listening to others rather than speaking without hearing, we find opportunity to extend grace and give the right response at the right time. May we make the choice to use our voice for kindness, as we seek first to understand so that we may offer insight and respond the right way.

 

Let all that we say, unseal-my-lips

Be gracious and kind;

As we choose to hear,

Keep Your will in mind.

Grant us Your insight,

So we respond well;

Your grace extended,

With what we choose tell.

May our chosen words,

Demonstrate Your grace;

So all come to know,

Safety in Your space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those who were gracious and kind to us, who were able to answer us with wisdom and the right response at the right time. Thank You that as we seek You and trust You, You provide the same opportunity for us to be available for others. Forgive us for not seeking Your wisdom and grace, or for not slowing down to really listen first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose kindness and grace, ever being quick to listen and slow to speak. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend Your kindness and grace and offer the right response at the right time. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading so that our every conversation is full of Your grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Two Ears and One Mouth

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. – (James 1:19, NLT)

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

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up in a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

 

So often, when buttons are pushed and tempers begin to flare, if the choice is made to first listen to understand where the other person is coming from, the initial spark of anger is diffused, and the things we choose to speak when we are ready, are far better received than if we simply spout out whatever comes to mind in the moment. There is a time and place for righteous anger – the sort of disgust that draws us to rise up and pursue possible solutions. However, in the seemingly small things that spark our hot buttons, we must seek the Lord and His heart and help, so that we are willing to listen, rather than speak. We are created with two ears and only one mouth. I imagine God intended that we use our parts accordingly. Our ears should likely be used at least twice as often as our mouths when we interact with others. May we go forth today with ears open, ready to listen with the intent to truly hear, ever keeping control of our tongue and leaving rage behind us.

 

With ears wide open,Be Not Silent

May we choose to hear;

What’s being spoken,

By those who are near.

Choose be slow to speak,

When anger finds way;

Words that are spoken,

Cannot go away.

Instead, in moments,

Slow down and choose trust;

God’s call to listen,

Just as He hears us.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Thank You that this is not something that You expect us to do in our own strength, but rather You strengthen and equip us to listen first, so that we may truly hear the heart of those around us. Forgive us for speaking without listening, or for giving way to rage rather than seeking to understand. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to listen and slow to speak, ever keeping anger at bay where it belongs. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are willing to listen, slow to speak, and allow You to help keep our anger in check. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

The Power of the Tongue

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Action Gives Weight to Words

Action Gives Weight to WordsBe quick to listen,

and be slow to speak;

slow to get angry,

turn to God and seek.

Man’s anger will not,

bring a righteous life;

God does not desire,

such meaningless strife.

Get rid of all filth,

evil that prevails;

humbly trust His word,

His truth never fails.

We must not just listen,

we must also do;

all that He asks us,

we must see it through.

Faith without action,

is not faith at all;

empty words will lead,

to destructive fall.

For when we follow,

God’s word as He asks;

we find true freedom,

our blessing that lasts.

(Responding to James 1:19-25)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called to be more than just hearers of Your word. Thank You that You ask and equip us to put our faith in action. Forgive us for our empty words and our inactivity, and teach us how to live a life that is continually built on setting our faith into action. Show us what You desire from each of us, and help us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, and persistent in trusting in Your promises. May our lives be led in such a way that our words, Your word, holds weight in the world around us, because we are living out our faith with action. May many come to know You through our active obedience to all that You ask. Let Your light shine bright in each of us. Amen.

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