Gabriela’s Thoughts on “Listen to Learn”

Listening to learn. You might think to yourself, “How hard can that be? I listened to the teacher when I was in school, and I graduated so I had to learn. Right!” Well, its not quite like that. Sure you listened in class, but did you really listen in class. I’m in school right now and I know how easy it is to let your mind wander…”What’s for dinner? When’s the next break?” etc… How many times did you get called on and you didn’t know the answer? Think about it…

Enough about school, besides, that is the easy part. I’m writing to give you a real challenge. Listening to learn, but not quite, listening to people  to learn from people. What’s the point of listening to someone if not to learn from that someone? When you are listening to someone tell a story about their dog, you are listening to learn about their dog, right?

To get relationships you must learn about that person first, to see if you would make good friends. And how is the only way you can learn about this person? You guessed it!!! You listen to them. OK fine, there are other ways to learn about someone, but all other ways are just creepy, so this is what I suggest.

Now do you feel more challenged? I sure hope so! When you listen to someone it shows that you care, it says that whatever is for dinner is less important than the story of their German Shepard. You want people to care about whatever it is that you want to tell them, am I right? Well, just think of the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Listen to others the way you would want others to listen to you.

I’m going to give you a little hint on how to start listening like you never thought you could. “Don’t come up with your response until the person is totally finished with what they are saying.” My dad taught me that! I know that it might be hard, but I also know that you are quite capable of doing it, so Good Luck!!!

Listen More, Think Less (revised)

James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak.

Listen to learn.

Taking a class we really want to take or absolutely have to take, how do we listen? We listen to learn. We have to, especially the more difficult the class and subject matter. Whether it’s calculus, quantum mechanics, or molecular biology, we have to tune in in an acutely receptive manner in order to absorb the material and actually understand it. Chances are, we are not forming our own opinions about it or how the teacher should really do his or her job. Or we’re not saying to ourselves, “Quantum mechanics should behave this way!” We’re trying desperately to grasp it so that we can understand it, and therefore, move forward accordingly. According to the reality of the subject.

How much more complicated and nuanced and difficult to know are people? More than even the intricately difficult subjects mentioned above? We know so little about the brain, let alone the spiritual realm and how it is influencing us at all times.

And yet how often do we listen to our fellow human beings in this reverent, open-and-ready-to-learn manner?

Not enough.

We cannot possibly know another person the tiniest fraction of how God knows them.

When we listen without judgment, expectation, or agenda, we affirm the other person. This is when we are at our very best during interpersonal interactions. Affirming someone is encouraging them in who they are. Isn’t this what God does for us? He celebrates us for who we are, not only for what we do. And how powerful is that? How inspiring? Who have you felt closest to in your life? Most likely, it was someone who affirmed you, believed in you. Someone who listened to you because they deemed you worthy to listen to. Conversely, one of the most degrading experiences is to not be seen or heard. They say indifference is worse than hatred.

Listen to learn.

Listen in a way to actually learn about the person. Who they are, where they come from, what they believe, what they like, what makes them angry, what excites them…Listen for patterns that tell what shapes them. Listen without thinking of a thousand things while they’re talking, but listen only to learn. This is powerful. In a sense, you are really limiting yourself.

The power of limiting yourself.

Of listening without judgment, expectation, or agenda.

Try to take a day to practice listening in this manner. It is quite difficult, and for some will feel foreign and nearly impossible. But you will be surprised at what you will now hear and actually learn when you stop thinking so much and you shut your big yapper!

Straying from Religion–Gabriela


Ask yourself- “Have I really thought about how I am serving Christ and praising him?”

Sometimes we can easily go through our day without giving God one thought. With jobs and kids, things can easily turn into a very stressful week. It can be very hard to find time to just sit and think, but no matter what, we need that time. Your religion is one of the most important things about you. If you stray from that path and from God, you might find yourself thinking, “What’s the point?” You would be on the right track. What is the point if you stray and become distanced with God? The foundation of our very lives rests in the loving hands of our Heavenly Father. Without Him, Christianity, along with everything and everyone else, loses all meaning.

Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy everything else, we just can’t stray from the utmost important thing in our life. We will need things like the Bible and people we love and trust to help and guide us.  But in listening to others and hearing their opinions and beliefs you could find yourself believing in things you don’t really truly believe in. That is why you can have a guide, but you must never stray yourself from the one true person who helps guide us through every step and every choice we make in our life.

One easy way to stay in touch with God is talking to him every day. You can always find something to thank Him about. If you are going through, or know someone who is going through, a tough time, ask Him about it. God is the one person (or being) who has, is, and always will listen to you; even if it is just the simplest of things like how to get through the day. The most important thing that you can remember is that He will always be there for you and that he loves you and he loves hearing from and talking to you.

Distanced From Its Root, Religion Loses Its Meaning


Hebrews 2:1

So then, we must pay all the closer attention to what we heard, in case we drift away from it.

Scripture and the early creeds are kind of like our guard rails. If we wander off too far from them, we will soon find ourselves lost and groping about in the darkness of our own, or somebody else’s, version of the Gospel. Perhaps unknown to us, we will be living by a made-up philosophy.

I like definition #5 of “philosophy”: a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

What are your principles for guidance in practical affairs? Where do they come from?

Remember, the root of our religion is Jesus Christ. Scripture and creeds may be our guide rails, and good works will be our natural response to an authentic God encounter, but our root is a person. The resurrected, living Christ always with us.

Distanced from Christ, Christianity loses its meaning.

May we never stray from Jesus, His Spirit, His Father, His guidance, His teaching, His example, His power, His life, His presence. For from Him, from His actual life, flows the living water which we have to drink if we ever for a moment hope to live how He told us to live.

“Without me, you see, you can’t do anything,” said Jesus.

Gabriela’s Thoughts on “Abide & Serve”


Hi! I know some of you know me as Rob’s daughter, but I know most of you don’t know me at all. My name is Gabriela.

Earlier this week my dad was trying to come up with his plan for 2017. He wasn’t sure if he was going to do things differently, or even continue doing these daily writings at all. I love writing, so I suggested to my dad that I might write my thoughts and reflections on some of his writings from last year, as well as 2015.

I feel as if adults, with all their responsibilities and things they need to remember, tend to over think simple things. As a child you don’t have as many things to worry about. We don’t see things as complicated as adults make them. So I’m now going to try to make things as easy and as simple as  I can, because I know that  being nice to others and doing the right thing is not always the easiest path to take.

I feel like in order to be truly happy you must create for yourself a structure or a base in your life. To do this you must have a few rules that you choose to live by; if you don’t, your life may turn to chaos in trying to create new habits for yourself. Two perfect rules to live by are: Abide in Christ and serve the suffering. You must simplify your life in order to do the things that we must do. You can’t  do everything that you want to do. That is why you must create a structure for your life to sit on. “Abide in Christ and serve the suffering.” If you believe, or abide, in Christ everything else will come. Maybe not as easily or as quickly as you would prefer, but it will all come. There will always be people out there that need our help. It might not be the first thing you choose to do after work, but if you have that as one of the structures in your life, I can promise you that you will find that giving to and helping others will make you truly happy!


Abide & Serve



As we journey toward being one with God, we find that the message and the task before us becomes more and more simple. It is we who complicate the message with a plethora of added requirements for living this life, not God.

Simple does not mean without challenge, for it is in challenge, in suffering, that we grow. Isn’t it in suffering where things often become simpler by narrowing our focus on what is truly important?

We grow through suffering and discipline, discipline being more on our terms. Discipline is also a narrowing of focus on what is most needed for growth. It is a prioritizing. Time with God, soaking in His presence, meditating upon Holy Scripture, devotion to prayer (listening as much as speaking), encouragement from and for others who also pursue union with God.

Inspired by the writings of Andrew Murray, Ruach (aka Holy Spirit) showed me that we can state our intentions succinctly with, “Abide in Christ. Serve the suffering.” This goes nicely with the two greatest commandments according to Jesus–Love God. Love who’s in front of you right now. 

Abide in Christ. Serve the suffering.

As my good friend Todd Fisher once said, “Abiding in Christ simply means staying connected to Jesus.” [my paraphrase] And this we do, likely, through the means we mentioned a couple paragraphs ago.

And if we’re abiding in Christ, we will be led to serve the suffering, to be with them. It is not one without the other. Just the abiding without the serving is more of a private pietism. Just the serving without the abiding is mere social justice. Jesus showed us not an either/or, but a both/and because of the power of YHWH and His indwelling Spirit. That is the difference, what makes ALL the difference–supernatural love and power flowing through us and out onto the world around us as a result of being deeply rooted in Christ.

Abide in Christ. Serve the suffering.