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

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

An Empowered Life Through Love

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, NIV)

God’s kingdom is not seen in talk but in power. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, ERV)

God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. – (1 Corinthians 4:20, MSG)

 

Our actions have a far greater and longer lasting impact than anything that we say. The charge that we have been given is to love God and love people, according to His good and perfect will. When we choose to live out our faith through all that we do, we are able to make the Lord’s love evident. However, if all that we do is say what we believe, but do not put it into action, the impact is non-existent. In the same way, if we tell those we love that we love them, but do not demonstrate our love through the things that we do, the words have no meaning nor lasting impact. On the other hand, those who serve and honor, uphold and provide, show again and again the power of God in their lives, even if the words are seldom spoken. A favorite quote of mine that aligns well with this verse, is: “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.” – (St. Francis AssissiMay our actions provide the powerful proof of God’s love in our lives as we reach out to love, honor and serve those around us.

 

May the love of God,

wp-1521807723600596361595.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be made evident;

Through all that we do,

Kindness, heaven sent.

His love’s best made known,

Through things that we do;

Each act done in love,

Grants God’s light shine through.

So, let us choose show,

God’s love in our lives;

As we act in love,

Helping others thrive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that is not merely spoken to us, but rather it is made evident through actions. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our actions have not aligned with Your will, or our words were empty and without action. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be people empowered by Your love to go forth and do the same. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your heart in the things that we do. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and give feet to our faith through loving actions. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Love Made Evident

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

The central truth – the one you have heard from the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

 

Our charge, always, is to love one another. Love makes itself known in a myriad of ways, yet a common thread in all is that love is “otherly”. It sees the needs of others first, and gives without worrying about what is received in return. I am beyond blessed to receive such love from family, friends and colleagues. Currently, my husband and I are on a Valentine’s Escape weekend in San Francisco. It was my joy to plan our escape with him knowing nothing of where we were headed. He worked eleven days straight, prior to our departure, as his job requires him to keep all city vehicles running and in good repair. The demands of his skill set grew exponentially as our entire state attempted to keep roads drivable with the triple hit of heavy snowfall. Yesterday, the first day of our getaway, was at long last an opportunity for rest. We were able to balance exploring with relaxing, and last night, both of us slept more than eight full hours. All this to say, he woke up and began making breakfast for both of us. Despite his exhaustion and this vacation being meant as a break for him, he continues to choose to love and serve, rather than sit back. Love works hard and chooses to act on behalf of others, even when rest is desired. May we ever seek to love and serve as Christ has done for us, so that our words and deeds make His love evident to all.

 

To love is a choice,

img_2019-02-16_08-06-044571236925016341477.jpg

My love and dear cousins who drove into the city to visit while we are in town. ❤

We all have to make;

To freely choose give,

Instead of just take.

Love chooses to see,

The needs of others;

Reach out and give grace,

One to another.

May we persevere,

And give love away;

For that is how peace,

Comes in hearts to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You for the incredible examples of people who love well that You have placed in my life. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as our first response. Teach us to turn to You in trust, to lead and guide us in how we are meant to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways that clearly communicate a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as You have loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Choose Walk In Love

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – (John 13:34, NIV)

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I have loved you. – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same way. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

We are called and commanded to love one another. In the same way that Jesus loved everyone around Him, we are called to do the same. Valentine’s Day is a holiday that those in love, love, and those who are not, often loathe it. To me, today is a great reminder to love others well. Spouse, children, friends, family, strangers – no matter who it is, we are called to choose love and do so well. Though we may struggle with some, we still have the obligation to choose to act/speak in love. Jesus, even as He was hanging on the cross, He loved. He asked for His killers to be forgiven, and made sure His friends would take care of His mother. Everything about His life was an act of love. May we think of God’s perfect love as we go about our day, and choose to love those we encounter in the same way.

 

We all have been called,

img_20190214_050427_833537183088697893205.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To choose walk in love;

Our words and our deeds,

Like the Lord’s above.

To choose to invest,

In those who surround;

To love as we’re loved,

So grace may abound.

Embrace everyone,

With words and with deeds;

Let His love be shown,

As His kindness leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible love for us all. Thank You that You call and command us to love others as we are loved by You. Thank You that this is something that You strengthen and equip us to do as we depend on You to lead. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, despite the love that You lavish on us. Teach us to trust and depend on You to show us how to love best when love is difficult to find. Lead us to love those around us in ways that point people to the True Source of love forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love others best. Amen.

 

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

 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18

Nothing Without Love

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV)

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 13:1-3, ERV)

If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, CEB)

 

All that we say and all that we do is meaningless if each are not motivated by love. More than any words or any deeds or any acts of faith, God desires that we choose love. Above all else, there must be love. Jesus went on to tell us that all of the commandments and all of the laws can be fulfilled if we love God and love people. May we ever pursue a path that presents a palpable passion to love God and love people, as we are loved by Him.

 

Wonderful, wise words,

Peace Through Understanding

Mean nothing at all;

If not said in love,

Such words with just fall.

Great acts of giving,

Or faith that moves all;

If not done in love,

They’ll be our downfall.

Our call from the Lord,

To love Him and all;

Lest our words and deeds,

Must reflect our call.

So, let us go forth,

In word and in deed;

Choose love over all,

For such love meets needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us, above all else, to love. Thank You that You give good gifts and equip Your people to love in a variety of ways. Forgive us for every word spoken and every deed done, that were not motivated by love. Teach us how to align our every word and action with the love that comes from You. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love You and love those around us, above all else. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”… And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37 & 39

Presence, Help and Rest

The Lord replied, ”My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, NIV)

The Lord replied, “I’ll go Myself, and I’ll help you.” – (Exodus 33:14, CEB)

Eternal One: My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, VOICE)

 

These words were spoken to Moses by the Lord, when he was called to lead the Israelites. Moses was concerned about all of the particulars about what God was asking him to do, and told God that he needed to truly know Him and find His favor to follow through. God responded with a promise of His presence, His help, and His rest. The promises of God to Moses are still true assurance for us today. As we seek the Lord, He will be with us, will help us, and will grant us rest. This past week has been a perfect example of such. It has been the final week of the semester, the week prior to my coaching season, and I have been fighting some sort of virus. This has not been a week that I could have afforded to miss work, and the amount of work that I needed to accomplish was overwhelming. Despite having had a fever Wednesday night, and likely off and on yesterday, I was able to finish all that needed to be completed so that today, our semester break, I could rest. God knows what we need and is ready to provide. Though I had my doubts about how I was going to get through yesterday, I prayed and trusted Him to go before me, be with me, and lead me through. The Lord is faithful and His word is true. May we ever seek the Lord and invite His presence into every area of our lives. He is faithful to go with us, help us, and bring us into a space of rest.

 

Our God is faithful, Searched and Known

To that which we ask;

His presence, promised,

His help for each task.

He knows what we need,

And by His great grace;

Provides strength and help,

His rest through our days.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

Where we’re meant to go;

Ever be with us,

For our needs, You know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your presence, help and rest is available to us today, just as it was back in the time of Moses. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are called to do that which seems beyond our capacity. Teach us to trust You more, taking comfort in Your promises to be present to help, and ultimately grant us the rest we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers presence, help and rest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to be true to Your word, as You bring us through all things and lead us to rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

 

 

Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

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. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

img_2018-12-04_04-50-223530978993609554246.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12