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

Even in the Small Things

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Seek to Help and Bless

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. – (Proverbs 11:25, MSG)

 

This is an incredible promise, yet should not be our motivation to bless and help others. It is amazing to watch and see how blessings seem to follow those who routinely bless others, and likewise, those who readily jump in and offer help, have help available when they are in need. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, the blessings are delayed, and the help is not tangible in the way one might hope. The challenge is to trust in the One whose promises are true, and to know that what He says, He will do.

We live in a broken and hurting world where one wound often leads to many more, rather than running to our Redeemer for restoration. In light of the tragic events over the past several days, we have a unique opportunity to bless and help, now, more than ever. People need hope. As the news continues to show us violent scenes unfolding, and divides among people growing, we are being granted the gift of bridging the gap. How can we make a difference in our own community? Our own neighborhood or workplace? Or perhaps, even within our own family? May we seek the Lord with our whole heart, so we may go forth in love to bless and help those around us with hope and light and life.

 

Lord, please show us how,Generous Giving

To bless those in need;

Those desperate for hope,

By Your help, please lead.

Teach me to offer,

What You call to give;

So many might know,

By faith, we shall live.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That as we obey;

Your hope and Your grace,

Come in us to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us and help us because You love so well. Thank You that You equip us to bless and help those around us. Thank You that You see and know the needs in us and around us long before we do, and You are loving us all the while. Forgive us for not reaching out to those around us, when You have given us hands to serve, ears to listen, a heart to understand, and a voice to share kindness and love with all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do exactly that. Show us how to listen to understand, reach out to help and to bless, and to speak truth in love to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to bless and help others just as You so lovingly have done for us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14