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

Walking in Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

 

Love is a choice that we have to make, day in and day out. It is not dependent on feelings or actions done for or against us, but rather a decision to love others as we are loved by God. He is patient and kind with us. God is not easily angered by our short-comings, and He does not keep a record of our wrongs. When we ask for forgiveness, it is done. If we are to act in the same way, we must have an “otherly” outlook. Choosing to be patient and kind, even when we aren’t feeling it, is being intentional to love. We are not meant to envy others, but rather to celebrate their blessings beside them. Everything good that comes our way is a blessing bestowed upon us, not something to boast about. If we keep score when others hurt us, we are not walking in forgiveness. Yes, we must be wise and not remain in circumstances where there is intentional repeated offense against us, but neither are we to keep stewing on hurts. Our charge is to love and forgive, in the same way we are loved and forgiven by Christ. May we ever look to the Lord to lift us up, so that we may choose to love others in the same way that we are loved by Him.

 

Keep not a record,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Of others offense;

Instead choose to love,

When love makes no sense.

For the love of God,

Is patient and kind;

We are not worthy,

Of His love defined.

Love’s not dependent,

On what we choose do;

A beautiful gift,

Where He makes us new.

Called to do likewise,

To love anyway;

Forgive grievances,

Choose love each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are a work in progress. Thank You that You love us through our highs and lows, good and bad, and You teach us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have been rude or proud, impatient or unkind, or held onto an offense against us that You intended for us to release. Show us how to walk in love, in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to walk away. Teach us to trust You more, as You are love defined. Lead us to love those around us with kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love others in the same way that You so faithfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Responsible with Resources and Lavish with Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anyone anything, with the exception of love to one another – that is a debt which never ends – because the person who loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, VOICE)

 

We are called to be responsible with our resources, so that we do not bear overwhelming burdens of debt. However, the one exception to this is love. Our charge is to spend it lavishly, extravagantly – without reservation nor concern for a limited supply. Each time we love, the Lord replenishes our capacity, and tends to grow it even greater than it was before. Incredibly, as we choose to walk in love, we are fulfilling the very law that the Lord has laid out before us. If we love God and love people, we are living a life of obedience to Him. May we be wise with our resources and lavish with our love for one another, thus leading lives that fulfill the Lord’s commands.

 

The great gift of love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

One debt we all owe;

For God chose love us,

So He might be known.

Each time we choose love,

We answer the call;

To love as God loves,

For grace covers all.

Additionally,

As we walk in grace;

The law is fulfilled,

For love is the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming love that fills us to overflowing, so that we can go forth in love, according to Your good and perfect will. Thank You that as we love, we are fulfilling the laws that You have set in place for us. Forgive us for our every word, thought and deed that was not led by love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would surrender anything that gets in the way of our ability to walk in love in all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would see and hear Your heart for them in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be wise with our resources and lavish with our love. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Humility and Wisdom Go Hand in Hand

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

If you consider yourself to be wise and one who understands the ways of God, advertise it with a beautiful, fruitful life guided by wisdom’s gentleness. Never brag or boast about what you’ve done and you’ll prove that you’re truly wise. – (James 3:13, TPT)

 

Humility and wisdom go hand in hand. Jesus is our ultimate example as to how to walk out a life that is lived accordingly. He loved people as a priority, and was passionate about being in His Father’s presence. As we prioritize time with God, we gain wisdom that comes from Him alone. It is through Him that we are equipped to live and love well, in humility and gentleness, according to His good and perfect will. Talking about living such a life and actually walking it out, are two entirely different things. Wisdom is witnessed in those whose lives model God’s loving kindness and gentleness. Actions always speak louder than words alone. May we ever seek solitude with our Savior, so that we may gain a deeper understanding of who He is and how we are called to love. As we do, we are better equipped to live well, live wisely and live humbly.

 

We’re called to wisdom, Hope in Discouragement

And humility;

To live our lives well,

Compassionately.

A life of this sort,

Is grounded in grace;

Given by Jesus,

As we seek His face.

A life that’s lived well,

In humility;

Occur when we make,

Love priority.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live well, live wisely and live humbly. Thank You that this is not something that You simply expect us to know how to carry out on our own, but rather You give us wisdom and strength to follow that which You call us to do as we seek You and invest in knowing You more. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom when we need it most, or for not walking in humility and taking credit where the credit due is Yours. Teach us to lead lives that demonstrate Your wisdom through our every action, as we seek to humbly do Your will in love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants them eyes to see You through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom, love and direction, so that we may live wisely and humbly, walking out Your will. Amen.

 

 

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

 

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20

Tend to This Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So, we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

 

Each one of us who claims Christ as our King, is a temple in which His Spirit dwells. Our charge, as one who tends His temple, is to be mindful of our body and spirit, so as to nourish our very being with what we take in. When we fuel and care for our bodies well and spend time in His word, our thoughts align with His and our bodies are better equipped to do that to which we are called. The decision to be wise with what we opt consume – physically, mentally and emotionally, is an act of reverence to the very One who created us. May we make clean breaks from all that distracts or defiles us so that we may become fit and holy temples for He who dwells within us.

 

Lord, help us be wise, strength-in-waiting

With things that we choose;

For heart, mind and soul,

Your way, let’s pursue.

In You, there is truth,

Love, laughter and light;

Sound mind and body,

True space of delight.

Lord, may this temple,

Be prepared for You;

Help me to tend well,

And walk in Your truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come and dwell in all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You created each one of us to be a temple for Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected the care of either body, mind or spirit, as all work together for You. Teach us to trust You more, as You lead and provide what we need to be a suitable space for Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models and provides care for mind, body and spirit in each one. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide the decisions we make about how to best tend the temple You have provided. Amen.

 

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

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3:16

Wise Words Build Bridges

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, NIV)

Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV)

Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, TPT)

 

As I continue to mull over Sunday’s message, I am reminded of how much I value well-weighed words. Words of encouragement are some of the sweetest things for my soul, yet reckless words can bring my heart to ruin. Our words have the power to penetrate people’s hearts – for both healing and for destruction. We must choose wisely how we use our words, for they echo long after they leave our lips. As an adult who has experienced words utilized for both healing and for hurt, I have learned to form a filter, and give far less weight to the words of those who have not yet earned my trust. That being said, our job is to build bridges between people, not walls. Bridges are formed when safety is established, and safety comes when our words and actions align. May we ever seek the Lord to tame our tongue as He leads us on the path He has placed before us, so that we find wisdom to offer words that soothe and bring healing.

 

Words that are reckless, Wise Words Build Bridges

Pierce hearts like a sword;

Yet words of the wise,

Are healing outpoured.

We have the power,

To heal or to harm;

With the words we speak,

That fire or disarm.

May we choose to think,

Before we give voice;

So our words bring life,

And hearers rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak words of light and life and love into our hearts and souls so that we may know hope forever in You. Thank You that You call us to be wise with our words to bring healing to those around us. Forgive us for speaking without thinking or for being reckless with our words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and listen with our hearts to hear the words that You would have us speak that bring healing and health and wholeness. Show us how to love those around us well with well-chosen words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom to use our words to bring healing to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

The Force of Faithful Fathers

Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. – (Proverbs 20:15, NLT)

Much gold and many pearls exist, but wise speech is the most precious jewel. – (Proverbs 20:15, CEB)

You may have an abundance of wealth, piles of gold and jewels, but there is something of far greater worth: speaking revelation words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 20:15, TPT)

 

When I think of fathers, be it those on earth or our Heavenly Father, thoughts of wise words come to mind. Fathers are great sources of advice, and good fathers direct the path of their children as they grow. In the places where a human father is absent, falls short, or simply has no answer, God, who is the ultimate Father, always does. No matter where we are or what is going on, we may seek Him for answers in prayer and in His word. Last evening, I had the joy of watching the wisdom of a good father’s words come to fruition. My bonus son-to-be graduated from high school. He is a wonderful young man who has not been the biggest fan of school. His father, who loves him fiercely, with all of his giant, Viking being, passed on many wise words, often, that ultimately led to his son’s successful completion of public education. It is such a sweet space to watch the pride a father has in his son, as it grants a glimpse of how our Heavenly Father views us as His children. Though it often takes His coaxing, pulling, lifting, loving, redirecting, and many wise words conveyed to us, He is proud of us too, as we reach the various milestones set before us. May we ever seek the best Father of all and celebrate and give thanks for the good fathers that God has granted all around us to show us His heart.

 

Great wisdom in words, fb_img_15292164673276799610905781133347.jpg

Are precious in worth;

Far greater than gold,

The way, they unearth.

Just as the wise words,

That good dads choose bring;

Show us where to go,

And how to do things.

May we choose give thanks,

Seek words that are wise;

All praise for fathers,

Who see through love’s eyes.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of good fathers. Thank You that You are the ultimate good Father to us. Thank You that You grant us wise words to live by that lead us on the path You have placed before us. Forgive us for not valuing the wisdom found in the words that You intended for our hearts to hear. Teach us to have ears to listen and hearts to understand. Show us how to love others well, so that we would speak wise words that You place in our mouths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the wisdom of Your Holy Word and learn to value it above things that come and go. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

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

Nothing Without Love

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging symbol. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, NLT)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, ERV)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, MSG)

 

Yes, wisdom, knowledge and faith are all good things, but without love, they are nothing. Our first priority ought to be love. We are called to love God and love people. As we do both, we grow in wisdom, knowledge and faith. The choice to love, despite what we are given, opens our understanding, and shows us more of His heart for us. Often, as we make love our priority, God changes both the hearts of the recipients and the perspective of the giver. Love is patient and love is kind, and love always protects. The challenge is when we are caught in between caring for one and protecting many others. God is faithful and just, and I will trust that He will bring light where darkness is trying to reign, and that His love will lead the way. May we make love our priority in all things, so that every word and deed are shaped by His love.

 

Gifted with speaking, Faithful Obedience

Linguistic wisdom;

Is all meaningless,

If not done in love.

Wisdom and insight,

Vast understanding;

Along with great faith,

Less love, lack meaning.

So seek understand,

But let’s choose love first;

For that is how God,

Loves despite our worst.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that above all, You call us to love. Thank You that love is unpacked for us further as we read on in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. Forgive us for turning to wisdom or our own human understanding without love. Teach us to trust You more, so that love would lead us in all things. Show us how to love others as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19