Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

The Desert Road

As I continue in my study of Acts, I so appreciate the sensitivity of Philip to the Lord’s leading.  He was told to “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” – (Acts 8:26) Despite Philip’s successful ministry in Samaria, he was quick to obey what was asked of him, without even asking why.  He simply got up and went.

Philip’s obedience led to an extraordinary encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. (an important official in charge of the queen of Ethiopia’s treasury) This man had traveled to Jerusalem to worship, yet had not yet heard the great news of Jesus.  While Philip was walking on his way, he came upon the man as he was reading Isaiah, seated in his chariot, on the side of the road.  Again, Philip followed the Father’s prompting, and went to the man, as he had been told, and ultimately explained how the passage the Ethiopian was reading was speaking of Jesus.  Philip was able to tell him of all that Jesus had done, and all the good new that was available to him.  The eunuch responded right away, and wanted to be baptized.  Right after his baptism, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away.  The eunuch went on his way rejoicing, and was now equipped to share his experience with others.

In my own experience, I know this to be true.  As a teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching Social Studies, U.S. History, Art,  and Language Arts.  I had been stuck in a cycle of teach Mathematics for several years, and was burned out.  Finally, I had returned to Language Arts and U.S. History, and was thrilled.  At year’s end, my principal asked me if I would be willing to teach Reading Intervention the following year.  My first question was, “How am I qualified to teach that?”  His reply encouraged me to go ahead and wander into the desert, despite my inexperience with teaching struggling readers.  (As did the still small voice in my spirit) One step of willing obedience, has led to a position that I would not trade for anything.  I am now in my third year as the Reading Intervention teacher, and I LOVE teaching struggling readers.  I get to see the “a-ha’s” and the successes, regularly.  I get to know and love kids, that typically are difficult to know and love, in the tradition classroom setting.

Often, what we are called to do, does not make sense.  Calls can seem to be a demotion of sorts, or a send-off into the desert.  However, each time the call is answered and obeyed, the result is nothing short of remarkable.  At times, it takes a great deal of walking before we seem to hear the next step, yet the obedient walking is somehow always a preparation for the next leg of the journey.  May we be sensitive to His voice, and quick to make the choice to do as we are asked.

Ready to go,The Desert Road

leaving all behind;

willing to trust,

know we’re on His mind.

Steps to obey,

by faith we shall walk;

let momentum,

be our faith-filled talk.

See not the sand,

but trust in Him more;

He paves the path,

and leads us to shore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much, that You call us to partner with You on this journey.  Thank You that You use us and work in us and through us, when we are willing to answer Your call.  Thank You that You are faithful, always.  Forgive us for questioning Your call, or for fearing that we are not qualified.  Thank You that none of us are ever qualified on our own, but rather You in us, is what qualifies us to be obedient and do as You ask.  May we be tender to trust You more, and may many come to hear Your call, as we live and love as You call us to.  May lives be changed and hearts be moved.  All glory and honor to You, Lord.  Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Imprisoned for a Purpose

Imprisoned for a PurposeBeaten, imprisoned,

feet shackled up tight;

disciples still sang,

’til late in the night.

All of a sudden,

the prison did shake;

cell doors flew open,

guard’s life near to take.

Disciples called out,

“Do yourself no harm,

we are all still here,

in reach of your arm.”

When lights came ablaze,

and the jailer saw;

men true to their word,

he fell down in awe.

“Sirs, what must I do,

to truly be saved?”

“Believe in the Lord,

your life will be changed.”

At that very hour,

to his home he brought,

he cared for their wounds,

believed what they taught.

The whole family,

was baptized, believed;

the very next day,

disciples released.

(Responding to Acts 16:22-36)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You do not cause harm to come our way, You at times, allow it, as You use it for the greater good of those who love You, and often use our strength in the struggle as a way to touch the hearts and minds of those who know You not. Forgive us for assuming we have done something wrong when bad things happen, and help us to recognize that even in the struggle and heartache, there is opportunity to allow Your strength to shine and our heart to be refined. Thank You that You receive and love us, just as we are, but love us too much to allow us to stay this way. Continue to refine and shape us to more clearly reflect Your character in all that we say and do. May many come to know who You really are, by our love. Praise to You for Your powerful and unfailing love. Amen.

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

Purposefully Made

Purposefully MadePeter, yes Peter,

him who had thrice denied;

spoke boldly in truth,

Christ’s power realized.

He knew forgiveness,

clung tightly to the grace;

received God’s power,

Spirit poured in this place.

The crowd heard him speak,

his words cut to the heart;

in anguish they asked,

“How can we find fresh start?”

“In His holy Name,

be baptized and repent,

Jesus will forgive,

and His Spirit be sent.”

Many hearts did turn,

and lives forever changed;

by obedience,

of fisherman’s life claimed.

He will use us all,

if we’re willing to go;

may our hearts hear Him,

so His plans we shall know.

(Responding to Acts 2:14-41)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that so many of the men and women that are recorded as faithful followers in Your word, did not start out that way. Thank You that You show us time and time again that You take broken and sinful people who turn to You and want to serve, and use them to touch lives and transform communities. Thank You that You have created each one of us with a plan and a purpose, and have planted us where we are to invest in the people around us. Forgive us for feeling inadequate or insignificant, and help us to remember that You are our Source and Strength, and that anything good that comes out of us, is a gift from You. May Your light and love be what others clearly see, and may many come into an eternal relationship with You. Amen.

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