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

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

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

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

Learn to Live a Life of Love

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

 

As God’s children, we are called to go forth and love others as we are loved. The love that we are shown is patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, perseverant and will never fail. Though we are human, and our capacity to carry this out perfectly will fall flat, in Christ, we are equipped and empowered to love like He loves us. We become like the company we keep, so if we are keeping company with Christ, our capacity to love as He loves grows greater. Our hearts become aligned with His, and we more readily recognize His will and how to walk in the light of His love. May we aspire to imitate God our Father, and live our lives filled with love in a way that is pleasing before Him.

 

To learn to love well,Enter With Thanksgiving

We need only seek;

Our Lord God above,

Love is how He speaks.

As His dear children,

He shows us the way;

To love with our lives,

For all of our days.

As we look to Christ,

Who made love so clear;

May we do likewise,

So all know He’s near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do as You have done for us, so that others too, may come to know the power of Your great love. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You show us how to follow the example that Christ set before us, and You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not living a life of love as You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would imitate You and Your love in EVERYTHING that we do, because we are Your children. Let our lives speak volumes without our lips having to speak a single word. Show us how to love those around us in a way that pleases You and draws them unto Yourself. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we imitate You in all that we do, through living a life filled with love. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Prayer and Praise

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. – (James 5:13)

 

Be it times of trial or times of joy, our hearts ought to turn toward Christ. To communicate with our Creator is the way we were designed to respond in all things and at all times. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can come to Him in all things and at all times, knowing that we will be heard. For He bore the weight of all of our trials and troubles, and rose to be seated beside the Father as our High Priest, listening in love to our every request and praise. Thanks be to God, that He hears our every prayer and praise!

 

Are troubles present?A God of Peace

Lift your heart to pray.

For Christ, He hears us,

each word that we say.

Is life now happy,

you’re bursting with joy?

Then sing songs of praise,

to our God employ.

The Lord, He listens,

to each word we raise;

He’s true forever,

hope for all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and pray to You and praise You, no matter what is going on. Thank You that in our times of need, You hear our requests presented before You. Thank You too, that when we are overwhelmed by the goodness and blessings in our lives, You receive our songs of praise, as a fragrant offering before You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Help us to trust You more, so that when trials come, we seek You; and when joy abounds, we praise You. May we love people well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. Lead many to a lasting relationship with You in this season of celebrating Your arrival. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and praise You in all things. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Away from Worthless Things

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word. – (Psalm 119: 37)

 

In this fast-paced, media-blitzed, over-commercialized time of year, this particular verse is especially powerful as a point of prayer. All of the so-called “gotta haves” that are out there, are temporal things. Christ is the reason for the season. He is eternal, and as we fix our eyes on Him, and seek to live according to His word, His plan, and His way, our life is preserved in His promises and His peace is present. The frenzy that fights for footing is fought off when our focus is where it belongs. May we fix our eyes on the eternal, rather than the worthless things that do not last.

 

Let not the sparkle,

image from weheartit.com

image from weheartit.com

of the worthless things;

steal my attention,

from where freedom rings.

Jesus, fix my eyes,

on You and Your word;

preserve well my life,

in promises heard.

May Your peace be near,

as we come to You;

teach us what matters,

what’s righteous and true.

May all of our hope,

be held in Your hands;

as we seek to live,

in line with Your plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the greatest gift the world has ever known, and that though we do not deserve it, freely You gave. Thank You Jesus, that You willingly came and laid down Your life for ours, so that we could come to know life everlasting in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on worthless things, things that we covet or make more important than You. Teach us to fix our eyes on You, Your word, and being obedient to all that You ask, so that we may be a fragrant offering before You. Lead us to live and love according to Your will, and may many come into a saving relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from worthless things, and fix our eyes on You. Amen.

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

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

Poured Out

photo by The Sweet Tea Diaries

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus; feet and wiped His feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” – John 12:3

Such perfume was typically purchased to prepare a person for burial.  Her act of love and devotion to the Lord, could perhaps be representative of what Jesus was about to do on the cross.  God, in His great love for us, sent His Son.  His very best was broken and poured out so that the fragrance of those who believe, might be acceptable and pleasing to our Provider.  His broken body and spilled blood, were as the jar and the perfume – as it was broken and poured out, it covered the stench and the heat and the grime, filling the house with its fragrance.  Likewise, His blood covers the stink and slime created by our sin, when we are willing to receive His incredible offering; we then may become a sweet scent to our Savior.

God’s Son was sent so that He could be broken on our behalf, in our place, so that we might become a pleasing aroma to both people and our Provider.  His very life, poured out for all people who believe.

In the Old Testament, whenever the term “poured out” is seen, it is paired with a sort of complete covering – be it offering, blessing, or wrath.

Both Matthew and Luke contain “poured out“, using it in reference of Jesus’ blood on our behalf. (covering all of our sin)

Acts sites “poured out” in reference to the gift of the Holy Spirit upon those who believed. (Acts 2:33, 10:45)

Romans 5:5, refers to God’s love through the Holy Spirit, being poured out.

I Timothy 1:14 tells us of His grace being poured out upon us.

Philippians 2:17 refers to the rejoicing we may find in our Redeemer, as we are poured out by our sacrifice and service that come from our faith.

Revelations returns to “poured out” as the delivery of wrath upon the wicked in end times. (see Revelation 16)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be poured out in our place.  Teach us to pour out our faith as we learn to follow Your leading.  May our love for You and for all people, be a sweet scent unto You.  Pour out Your Spirit upon us, so we may be empowered and equipped to fulfill our purposes.  Amen.

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