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

Deep Roots Produce Fruit

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The more we learn to trust in the Lord and place our hope in Him, the better we are able to weather the difficult or unexpected. As we press in and grow deep roots, we become anchored with a confidence that God is who He says He is, and that His word is true. Our decision to love God and love people carries on in strength, for the roots deeply established, provide all that we need, even when our surroundings do not. May we ever invest our time, energy and passion into things that show us more of who God is and how He loves.

 

Those who trust the Lord, Deep Roots Produce Fruit

Grow roots by His grace;

Hope comes as we know,

His loving embrace.

Living waters flow,

Nourish and revive;

Flood our hearts with hope,

As love comes alive.

We need not despair,

When challenges come;

For God remains near,

Strength to overcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we trust and have confidence in You, the more we discover that our peace, joy and love are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are reliant on Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when challenges come, and teach us to trust in the hope we know in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that waters weary souls and grants hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dive deep into Your living water and allow Your love to flood our thirsty souls. Amen.

 

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

 

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:16-18

Look For in Faith

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NLT)

 

The stretch between Christmas break and Spring break always seem extraordinarily long. Despite the disruption to our schedule with a handful of snow days, this portion of the school year still feels like a marathon. Between the ridiculously full moon and the unseasonably warm weather, the energy and struggle to focus feel like an epidemic in the classroom. Student frustration is increasing, as the rigor and demand of the work is becoming more challenging than before. This is the space where I am ever aware of the limitations of my own strength, and recognize the need for the Lord’s. I appreciate the various translations of this verse, as they remind me that I need to look for and depend on the Lord for His strength, and ever seek His face. He provides what I am lacking, as I place my trust in Him. May we ever look to the Lord and depend on Him, as He is our source of strength as we seek Him.

 

Let’s look to the Lord, Bold Grace

And choose seek His face;

Depend on His strength,

Granted by His grace.

Ever keep searching,

In spaces of need;

Go to God for help,

Allow Him take lead.

God in His leading,

All strength He supplies;

To keep pressing on,

Our Source realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You supply the strength we lack to press forward in all that we are called to do. Forgive us for not searching for You in the struggle. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your help, compassion and strength where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to be our strength; always. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Growth to the Seeking

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith, add goodness; to your goodness, add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

 

The blessings we behold grant us the capacity to bless others. We are given some specific ways that we can continue to grow and be more effective in loving others well. To do this best, we must make effort to further expand our capacity to grow in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. As we allow God to change us from the inside out, we are better able to love Him and those around us, which are the very things that we are commanded to do. Growth can be uncomfortable, as our greatest measure of increase most often comes in seasons of struggle. We must understand that we cannot do all things in our own strength and need faith in our Heavenly Father to deepen our dependence on Him. Goodness expands exponentially as we recognize the reality where goodness is lacking. Knowledge comes through actively seeking answers, rather than complacently standing by, hoping for wisdom to whack us on the noggin. There is no comprehension of need for self-control without the understanding how detrimental a lack thereof becomes. Patience grows in opportunities to wait, not in instant gratification. Devotion to God is desperately needed to find patience when we want answers or results right now. Kindness is an extension of our love for God and others made visible. May we seek and depend on the Lord to continue to grow us in all of these things that strengthen our love for God and for all people.

 

To love people well,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need ever seek;

The Lord and His love,

As we act and speak.

To love the right way,

We must keep growing;

Let faith and goodness,

Abundant, flowing.

Seek understanding,

Control and His grace;

So what our lives bring,

Reflect His embrace.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Equipped, empowered,

To answer Love’s call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us, the ways in which we can grow and expand to do so according to Your good and perfect will. Forgive us for not leaning into You to equip and strengthen us to love as You love. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that our greatest growth comes through struggles. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for them as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more like You each day. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

The Source of Self-Discipline

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to put His power into practice. There was an internal battle based on what I observed, and “Mama Bear Mode” kicked into high gear. I was infuriated without knowing the full extent of the circumstances surrounding what I saw, and it took every ounce of love and self-control to hold it together. Though I did not take it out on anyone, it took at least a half an hour for me to settle down internally, and let go of the anger I was holding. Love took over, and lifted me up so that I could move forward and focus on the tasks that were set before me. The Spirit of God is faithful to meet us when we are willing to ask and allow Him to move. My hope is that the next time I find myself so upset, that I stop, breathe, and give it to God immediately. May we look to the Lord to be our strength, the One who loves us through our lack and helps us exercise self-control when our instinct wants to do otherwise.

 

We need not have fear, The Mirror of the Heart

For that which we face;

As God’s always near,

Ready with His grace.

Grace to bring us calm,

And keep in control;

To choose His great love,

That we’re meant to hold.

When life overwhelms,

He’s faithful to hear;

Each request we make,

Answered with Him near.

All praise to the Lord,

Whose love never ends;

Embraces with grace,

In power, He sends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your power, love and self-discipline that You grant to those who seek You. Forgive us when we allow our circumstances to overwhelm us, rather than placing them in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and seek Your help in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace, power and calm in the midst of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your power, love and self-control. Amen.

 

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

 

You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples. – Psalm 77:14

Where Praise is Due

O Lord, I will honor and praise Your Name, for You are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now You have accomplished them. – (Isaiah 25:1, NLT)

Lord, You are my God. I honor and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonders marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

 

The Lord deserves all of our honor and praise. Not only has He done amazing things, but He has shown us, again and again, that what He says, He will do, and His word is ever true. It is incredible that the same God who made way in the desert and parted the sea, is still alive and active today. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and equips us to overcome obstacles that are far beyond us. May we ever praise Him, for God is good and faithful to fulfill His promises.

 

O God, Holy Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

I’ll ever praise You;

For Your faithfulness,

And Your word that’s true.

All wonderful things,

Blessings that ensue;

Strength that overcomes,

Each because of You.

Before all there is,

Could ever be seen;

You Lord were present,

The future foreseen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are faithful to fulfill all that You say You will do. Thank You that Your word is true. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of Your moving on our behalf. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that You are present and for us, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust that Your word is true, and that You will always do what You say You will do. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Trust to Make All Possible

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” – (Mark 10:27, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “That is something people cannot do, but God can. He can do anything.” – (Mark 10:27, ERV)

Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God – God makes all things possible!” – (Mark 10:27, TPT)

 

Impossible is our understood limit to the human capacity. However, God’s view is far different. In Him, all things become possible. God is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.  When doubt or fear find way into our hearts, we must remember who holds us in the palm of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, trusting that He is far greater than anything that would attempt to come against us or challenge the truth of who we are.

 

When there is no way, Faith for Forever

It’s not so with God;

He’ll show us there’s more,

Our doubts, they are flawed.

For what seems too much,

Is simple to Him;

Creator of all,

His grace always wins.

Peace in our struggles,

Strength when ours is gone;

Brawn in the battle,

Hope to carry on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible with You. Thank You that You will always equip us for the things that You call us to do. Forgive us for relying on our own strength, or for seeing only the obstacles rather than You, our solution. Show us how to strengthen and encourage the faith of those around us through Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make the seeming impossible, possible. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” – Luke 18:27

The Source of Strength and Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

 

God’s presence is our protection from fear and discouragement. Knowing His nearness fends off fear and encourages hearts with His strength. His presence is promised wherever we go. In the same way that a small child is comforted and emboldened knowing that a parent is near, we too, in similar fashion, may find peace, comfort and strength as we are aware of our Heavenly Father’s presence. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and courage, as He is faithful to meet us and make His presence known.

 

We are commanded, Compassion in Confrontations

Be strong in the Lord;

Do not be afraid,

As love is outpoured.

Ever He is near,

His presence assured;

Where we are lacking,

His strength is secured.

Rise up, be fearless,

In faith choose press on;

God faithfully leads,

Strength when ours is gone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead, strengthen and encourage us always, and You never leave us or forsake us. Thank You that we need not fear nor be discouraged, as You hold us in Your hands. Forgive us for our fearfulness and losing heart, as we lose sight of the truth of how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will find strength and courage in knowing Your nearness, even when we cannot feel You near nor see how You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and courage when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your faithful presence and provision, no matter what comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Falling Into Grace

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, VOICE)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Our humanity is fragile and susceptible to failure. We get sick and we struggle, yet when we trust in God, He is our strength and our hope forever. For whatever He has called us, He will equip us so that we may continue and carry out all that we are meant to do. Be it our best day or our worst, God still claims us as His beloved children. We are His and He is ours, always. May we be encouraged in knowing God is for us, and seek Him forever to be our hope and our strength.

 

No matter the state, trust in the battle

We’re in as we come;

God will be our strength,

The Most Holy One.

Always, He is ours,

Likewise, we are His;

His love, eternal,

The place where hope lives.

May we be strengthened,

As His love’s made known;

Powerful presence,

His grace, we are shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we grow weary and fall short, You love us to life and grant the strength we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. Forgive us for losing hope in spaces that we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and hope forever, and we can always count on You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and strength and security. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, for we will trust in You forever, as You are our eternal hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16