Are you all ears?

 “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

all earsHave you ever been talking to someone and feel like they aren’t listening to a word you’re saying? Can you think of a time where you became quick to anger rather than taking a deep breath and remaining calm? What about saying something too quickly and then immediately regretting it? We have all been there, and I am here to tell you that the word of God provides wisdom on how to help us. In James, we are commanded to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. More often than not, when someone is speaking to us, we aren’t really listening to what they are saying, but rather thinking of what our response to them is going to be. God wants us to be better listeners rather than just “hearers”. As everyone knows, the tongue can get you into trouble, and we all know that once you say something you can’t take it back. This is why we are commanded to be slow to speak, so that we can be careful with the words that we choose to use. Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, I can be a better listener, and I can try to be slower to speak, but this slow to anger thing is going to be difficult.” Being angry is not a sin, it’s an emotion. With that being said, your anger can turn into a sin by the way that you handle it. God warns us to use wisdom in handling our anger, and through His word He encourages us to show love and grace instead of lashing out with emotion.

My challenge for you is to first be a better listener. Then, when you find yourself with something hurtful to say, think through how it’s going to affect the other person. Lastly, be slow to anger because God has blessed you in so many ways. Respond in love, instead of reacting in anger. I’ll leave you with this, “In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you’re still angry, and don’t let the devil grab a foothold.” –Ephesians 4:26

For His Glory,

Morgan Drake


A God Who Listens

For many years now, I’ve kept some form of an online blog as a place to let my journals overflow into the hands of my friends and family (and the occasional stranger). It’s been a strange experience to see the places those once-private thoughts have landed, but I believe that the Lord gives each of us stories of grace, redemption, hope, and imperfection that are longing to be told to display His glory. Since being back in Thailand over the past few months, I’ve found that my blog has stayed silent while I’ve hashed out my thoughts through my social media accounts. Despite many of my posts turning into mini-blogs, I’ve felt the stories crying out to be told fully, and so this week I’d like to invite you into the uncut versions of my social media feed, in hopes that the words of the Lord find you and lift up your weary or discouraged hearts.


A God Who Listens

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he bends his ear to listen, I will call on Him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2 (ESV)

TuesdayIn my journeys over the past couple of years, I spent a month in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It’s a city where you can’t stick your arm out without hitting one of three things: a backpacker, a motorbike, or a Buddhist.
I remember sitting in a coffee shop with a sweet new Buddhist friend learning about her life and about her current curiosity about Christianity. One of her Christian friends had begun praying over some personal problems she was having, and my new friend was seeing things change for the better. She was so confused how her Christian friend’s prayers were being answered while her prayers and offerings to Buddha were being ignored, and the words she said next rattled me to my core and rooted themselves in my heart forever. “Your God listens.” I still get goosebumps when I think back to that conversation in that coffee shop in that Communist country.

In Thailand, where I’m currently living, there is a saying: “To be Thai is to be Buddhist.” Despite being a country that speaks of religious freedom, the Thai identity is tightly secured to Buddhism. From the moment you are born, you are legally marked as a Buddhist. To convert is almost to betray your country and disrespect the king. All schools, even the Catholic schools, are required to teach Buddhism rather extensively.

Learning all of this has made me more and more curious about the testimonies of the people I work with, who are all Thai Christians. One day, I asked one of our teachers how she became a Christian and what it was that made her see Jesus as Truth over Buddha. She launched into her story of the way her sister’s conversion helped to peak her interest, and what she said next sent me back to that Communist coffee shop. “I realized that for all the offerings I gave to my idols, nothing happened. My sister told me that the God she believed in listened to His people and He even spoke to her. And I knew that a God who listens is what I wanted.”

Our God listens. It seems like such a simple truth, but it is one that I’m learning the true weight and beauty of more and more. Those three words hold such power: Our God listens. He hears your prayers, He hears your joys and your sorrows, and He’s listening.