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

Called to Task

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. – (Luke 1:76-77, NIV) 

Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. You will make His people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. – (Luke 1:76-77, ERV) 

 

As Zechariah’s song of praise continued, he proclaimed words of truth, as God revealed the role that his son, John, would play in preparing the hearts of people for all that Christ had to offer. John was a faithful proclaimer of truth, and he spent his life, even unto his own death, speaking of the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the parents of John, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew their son was called to a task that was beyond their own human understanding. Both, likely spent John’s formative years, educating and raising him close to God, guiding him in the direction that he was meant to go. I imagine it took tremendous faith and dependence on God, to lead a child who was called to such specific work for the Lord. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Raising children who have been set apart from infancy, or even earlier, would be a task that takes trust beyond measure. In my own experience, simply being responsible for two tiny humans at the same time, took formidable faith, as premature twins in the care of a first-time parent was slightly terrifying. God’s grace, mercy and strength made the unknown and unyielding, manageable and marvelous. May we seek the Lord and His strength, as we recognize that He is our help and our hope in raising up the next generation of faithful followers of Him. 

 

O Lord, let our faith, 0119180406679500301.jpg

Be rooted in You; 

Our strength and our hope, 

For Your love is true. 

However You call, 

Whatever our way; 

Your help, grace and hope, 

Will lead us each day. 

Faithful forever, 

O Lord God, You reign; 

Please show us each day, 

The path we’re to take. 

  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness forever. Thank You that You never call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the call seems far beyond our ability to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than any seeming impossibility that lies before us. Show us how to faithfully navigate the roles to which we are called. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things at all times, and faithfully walk wherever You lead. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – Psalm 138:3

All Praise is Due

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, NIV) 

Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help His people and has given them freedom. He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of his servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, ERV) 

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. And the Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David. – (Luke 1:68-69, VOICE) 

 

These verses are a portion of Zechariah’s song, which are sung in a praise-filled celebration of sorts, following the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). As a faithful follower of God, Zechariah understood the significance of all that was taking place, as it had long before been foretold. The birth of his son was the prelude to the coming of Christ, the long-awaited Redeemer and Savior. Zechariah’s stretch of silence, after his holy visitation that left him mute, ended with the faithful obedience of writing down the name he was told to give his son. The first thing he did with his reopened lips was give glory and honor to God for His faithfulness. May we each embrace the incomprehensible grace that came to us through a virgin birth, and praise the Lord for being faithful to fulfill His promises forever. 

 

All praise to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

For all praise is due; 

For what He promised, 

Was provided true. 

A Savior to come, 

The Light for mankind; 

Entered a baby, 

Yet fully divine. 

The hope of the world, 

Had come down to earth; 

To set captives free, 

And grant us rebirth. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You for those who set the example of recognizing who You are and how You love. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same God who set aside His throne to be God-with-us, still dwells within the hearts of those who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You for all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for Your faithfulness, and conveys Your heart and character to all those with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wonderful things that You have done to extend Your grace and send us Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Love Made Known

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

 

John, who had walked with Jesus closely as His disciple, was both reminding and reassuring those who followed Christ, that our ultimate call is to love. This charge has not changed throughout the ages. All of the wisdom and wonder that is packed in the Bible can be best explained as: we are called to love God and love people. To do so, it cannot simply be something that we theorize and discuss, but rather we must act upon it and live it out in our daily lives. Love must be evident in not only what we say, but also in the things that we do. May our lives display a pattern of faithfully living a life of love, consistent with that which we are called to do.

 

Our love shouldn’t be talk, Love Made Known

It’s much more than words;

It must be sincere,

Beyond what is heard.

For love is made known,

Through what we choose show;

May all that we do,

Be lit by love’s glow.

When all that we do,

And all that we say;

Demonstrate His love,

His heart’s on display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love. Thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us through our words and deeds. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds do not align with Your gracious love. Teach us to trust You more so that we would show Your love through all that we say and do. Help us to love those around us with goodness and grace, even when the word or deeds extended toward us are kind nor warranting a gentle response. May our love turn away wrath and lead many to Your loving arms. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show love through all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Wait to Hear

I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. – (John 5:25)

 

We had a guest speaker in church yesterday who had a great message to share. One of the things that Doug Bursch (@gcfw.org) asked, was “Does God speak to us?” There was a resounding “yes”, but he followed with a few more questions that grabbed everyone’s attention. “Do you hear Him speak?” “If not, are you waiting on Him?” “Are you investing time in His word?” We can only hear and gain life if we are invested enough to seek and listen to the truth. Our source of truth, daily, should come from the word of God, and time spent before Him in prayer. If we are gaining our insight from social media, rather than the word of God, we are not hearing from Him. The above quoted verse from John is part of words spoken by Jesus. His point was that there will be those who are dead in their sin who will come to hear His voice and find eternal life. If we are listening to Him, we are available to offer what He has to those around us. May we be fully invested in His word and waiting on Him, so that we may go forth in peace, extending the love and grace that God alone equips us to offer.

 

Let us come before,

Waiting

the time has arrived;

to wait on the Lord,

where hope’s realized.

Though waiting is hard,

it’s always worthwhile;

for God has purpose,

as we tread each mile.

He teaches our hearts,

and our faith He’ll grow;

so when times are tough,

the truth we will know.

As we’re invested,

He grants us the words;

to lift up others,

so His heart is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live among us, and model what a life well-lived in You ought to be. Thank You Jesus for taking all of our sin and shame upon Yourself, so that we could have life abundant in You. Forgive us for our lack of patience in waiting on You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will wait with perseverance, no matter how long You call us to wait. Lead us to love well, all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You, then go forth in obedience to whatever You ask. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Our Provider

We are currently in the midst of a series at church, where my pastor is unpacking the roles of Jesus. Yesterday, the topic of study was Jesus is Our Provider. Among the many names known for the Lord, Jehovah Jirah means, our provider.

 

During Jesus’ time on earth, He proved to be a provider to many. Just after Jesus had learned that His cousin, John, had been beheaded by Herod and was setting out by boat to a solitary place, the crowds followed Him on foot, and in their zeal to see Him, arrived before Him. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14) More than that, it was on that same occasion that Jesus fed the multitude from five small loaves and two fish. Again, the Lord saw the need of the people, and He provided.

 

God wants us to trust Him with our time, talent and treasure. In return, He gives us enough to sustain us and to give away. Even when it feels like we don’t have what we will need, the Lord wants us to ask Him to provide for each day, and He is faithful to meet us accordingly. When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said to say: “Give us today our daily bread.” – (Matthew 6:11) We are to ask for what is needed today, and let tomorrow worry about itself. For as our day is, so too shall our strength be.

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:19)

 

May we ask of the Lord what is needed for this day, and go forth in faith, trusting that He will provide all that we need, according to His glorious riches.

 

Jehovah Jirah,Finding Freedoms Flight

our great Provider;

full of compassion,

true hope decider.

For He has taught us,

to choose ask each day;

for what is needed,

come to Him and pray.

Our needs shall be met,

one day at a time;

enough to sustain,

His power divine.

Let’s bring to the Lord,

time, talent, treasure;

and He will pour out,

with lavish measure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider. Thank You that as we pour out, You provide. Thank You as we trust You with our time, talent and treasure, You meet us where we are at, and grant us the strength and supply as each day comes. Thank You that You even taught us how to pray – to ask You each day for that which is needed, one day at a time. Forgive us for worrying about things too far down the road, or for spaces where we are short supplied. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first, and ask for that which is needed for this day, as we go forth and sow generously with our time, talent and treasure. Lead us to love well all those whom we encounter, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust all of our time, talent and treasure in Your hands, and seek You for what is needed each day. 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

Jesus is the Fulfillment

The Gospel of Mark paints a clear picture of who Jesus truly is. When Peter, James and John went up on a high mountain with Him for six days, Jesus was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking to Jesus. – (Mark 9:3-4) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” – (Mark 9:7)

 

As Jesus was transfigured, His divine nature was revealed to His disciples. The voice of God spoke the truth of whom Jesus truly was, and of by what authority He was given to operate. Through the appearance of Elijah and Moses, Jesus was clearly shown as the fulfillment of both the Old Testament Laws, and the prophetic promises. Jesus is.. the fulfillment. In Christ, we are no longer left to attempt to make atonement for our indiscretions, but rather we may rely on the redemption that Jesus has provided through His power that bore all of our sin and shame on the cross. When we seek Him and place our lives in His hands, we are both instructed and equipped in the ways in which we are meant to go. May we embrace the fulfillment that is found through faith in Christ alone.

 

On a mountaintop,Breaking Free from Barriers

Christ became transformed;

and God made it known,

just whom they adored.

For Jesus was more,

than the law had been;

promises fulfilled,

our Savior and friend.

May we each embrace,

all that Jesus brings;

and give Him our best,

our true offering.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Jesus, thank You for being both the fulfillment of the Old Testament Laws and of the prophetic promises. Thank You that You are our example to look upon, and our help and our hope to depend on for all of our days. Forgive us for trying to make reparations for our wrongs rather than coming before You in confession, and help us to seek Your face and receive Your grace, so that we may operate in the fullness of all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will know in both our head and our hearts that every promise You have made is for us too. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted Lord God, as we embrace the fulfillment that is found through faith in You. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Bestowing the Best of News

What is the best news you have heard in recent months? For me, a recurring theme is new lives are on the way. I have several friends who are expecting. The anticipation and preparation paired with dear ones readying their hearts and homes to welcome new tiny wonders, is some of my favorite sort of news.

 

The great news of hope in Christ, should carry even more enthusiasm. Not only does coming into a relationship with Him bring new life, but it is a life that is everlasting in Christ’s presence! Jesus takes our brokenness and sinfulness, and heals and restores so that we are whole and considered righteous before Him. Christ’s love is so transformational, it should be a struggle to stay silent about all the wonders He has done. Just as Peter and John replied to the Sanhedrin when ordered to stop speaking and teaching about Christ, so too should our response be the same. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) May we go forth in wonder, sharing of all that He has done.

 

The great news of Christ,

My own tiny blessings a few years ago... <3

My own tiny blessings a few years ago… ❤

a message of hope;

He removes our stains,

and leads as we lope.

A wondrous exchange,

our sin for His grace;

His love that transforms,

bright light in dark space.

How can we not speak,

of what we have heard;

in Him we have hope,

our future, secured.

Let us all go forth,

with great joy, speak out;

point all to the Lord,

the One secure route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the best news we have ever received. Thank You that in You, we have forgiveness, grace, love, joy, peace, hope, and so much more! Thank You that You welcome all who come with repentant hearts seeking after You. Forgive us for staying silent when Your truth needed to be told. Grant us boldness, so that we will speak of what we have seen and heard as You call us to share, and give us wisdom to know how much or how little You would have for us to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be still before You, listening intently for Your voice to whisper words to our heart. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they cannot help but see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we love and serve those around us. Be glorified O God, as we speak of the great news we have in You. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Refreshment Through Repentance

After Peter and John had been used to heal a beggar in Jesus’ Name, they suddenly had a captive audience that was ready to hear what they had to say. Peter capitalized on the opportunity, as he unpacked all that had recently taken place with Jesus, before the open onlookers. As he did so, Peter pointed out (1) who Jesus was, (2) how they had rejected Him, (3) why their rejection was fatal, and (4) what they needed to do to change the situation. (NIV footnotes for Acts 3:11) The solution Peter presented was delivered a few verses later. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. – (Acts 3:19)

 

Restoration and refreshment from God, come when we repent and turn in trust to Him. In doing so, He wipes away all of our sin and shame, and refreshes our hearts and minds in Him. To repent, we must turn away from our own unrighteousness, and turn toward Christ. Repentance is both an act of our will and an exercise of His power within us. We cannot turn away from what entangles us if we do not trust that He will set us free. God is far greater than anything that attempts to attack or create anxiety – we however, must trust that God is who He says He is. May we turn to God, repent, and receive His refreshment.

 

The Name above all,Refreshment Through Repentance

rejected and killed;

a fatal mistake,

change need be instilled.

The solution clear,

presented quite plain;

repent before God,

Who wipes away stains.

Refreshing shall come,

when God has been sought;

for He sets us free,

our redemption bought.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You with repentant hearts, and You receive us as we come. Thank You that You forgive us, refresh and renew us, so that we are made right before You again. Forgive us for our reluctance to repent, or for keeping hidden that which is seen by You anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might keep short accounts before You, quick to confess and rapid to receive, all that You have for each of us. Lead us to love one another with the same sort of mercy and grace that You extend to each of us. May many come to know You personally, as we live and love according to Your purpose. Be glorified O God, as we repent and receive Your refreshment. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7