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

Compassion Leads to Action

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” – (Mark 1:41, NLT)

 

In one verse of scripture, so much is spoken about the heart of Christ. When people were hurting, He did not just feel sorry for them, but rather He was “moved with compassion“, meaning His heart was motivated to alleviate the suffering that He saw before Him. In this passage in Mark, Jesus touched the untouchable, and healed not only the physical ailment that plagued the poor man before Him, but He helped his heart – for those with leprosy were unable to have any sort of physical contact with anyone at all. Imagine someone reaching out and touching your shoulder without fear, after years of being looked upon in horror… Compassion is the Christ-like action to which we are called. May we seek the Lord and His heart for those around us, so that we would not only feel sympathy and sorrow for those who are suffering, but that we might be compelled to alleviate the pain however He calls us to walk alongside those in the midst of their hurt.

 

When we see hurting,kindness

Those stuck in their pain;

May we be willing,

To move in His Name.

For true compassion,

More than sees and feels;

It seeks ways to help,

By grace, such love heals.

Let us choose rise up,

With hearts that see need;

In faith walk beside,

However God leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your heart for people. Thank You that compassion goes far beyond feeling sympathy for someone who is suffering. Thank You that compassion takes the sorrow felt for another’s pain and is accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Forgive us for lacking compassion with those around us, or for not opening our eyes to the needs in those before us. Teach us to be aware and available, ever trusting You to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to help. Show us how to love in a way that makes Your heart tangible to the suffering so that they would know hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to move our hearts with compassion as we view those around us. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Seeking Solitary Spaces

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. – (Mark 1:35)

Despite the crowds and the chaos that seemed to find and follow Him wherever He would go, Jesus found a way to make time to pray. He established time to connect and communicate with His Father. If Jesus was intentional to create time to connect with God, how much more so should we do the same? In today’s fast-paced world, it is not easy to find a solitary place to pray. We too, must be intentional with our time to make a place in our day for prayer. What I have discovered is that when I consistently make room, I find it is far easier to rise early and be focused than it ought to be, considering the chaos and lack of sleep that occurs some weeks. He is faithful to meet me each morning, as I make the decision to dedicate this solitary time to commune with Him and study His word. I have friends who are faithful to end each day in the same way. Where I would struggle to remain awake, they find themselves energized and encouraged. May we each embrace our own opportunities to seek solitary places to pray. For He is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him.

To seek a safe space,Believe Instead of Striving

where we are alone;

to come before God,

as He’s on His throne.

For in solitude,

our hearts shall be shown;

how great is His grace,

and the depth we’re known.

For as we choose pray,

seeds of faith are sown;

God’s Spirit waters,

and hope will have grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You in solitary places to pray, where distractions are far from us, and You meet us, and speak to our hearts. Thank You that You are faithful and loving, and that You encourage, instruct, redirect, and empower us as we pursue You in prayer. Forgive us for not being intentional to establish time with You. Teach us to trust You more with our time and space, so that we would be willing to do whatever it is You ask to create a time to be with just You. Thank You that You desire to spend time with us. Lead us to love others with a love that embraces hurting hearts and points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek solitary spaces with You to pray, so that we may be equipped to love as You love each day. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Willing Presence

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

So much is spoken in such a short passage. Anyone with an illness was considered unclean and untouchable, particularly those with leprosy. Jesus gave a man who had been outcast from society, value, by being willing to hear his request and touch him when all others considered him completely untouchable. Jesus healed the man’s physical condition, but more importantly, He healed his heart. Jesus had told the man to keep the story to himself and only go and show the priests, but the man could not help but go forth and spread the great news – for he had been healed!

The very same God who met the leper in his space of need, is available to touch us in ours. “The Lord gives you the experience of enjoying His presence. He touches you, and His touch is so delightful that, more than ever, you are drawn inwardly to Him.” – (Madame Jeanne Guyon) When we are touched by God, personally, we cannot help but want even more of Him. Once we have encountered a glimpse of who He is, we desire to see and know more. May we go forth this day with our eyes and hearts wide open, ready to observe our Savior in action. For He is alive and active, ready to move in our hearts and lives, always.

The touch of the Lord,Healed Hands Reach Out

to none can compare;

a life ever changed,

once we are aware.

To draw near to Him,

and know that He’s near;

grows in us great strength,

and removes our fears.

There is no delight,

as nearly as sweet;

as coming before,

the Lord’s righteous seat.

He invites us near,

to come closer still;

to taste and to see,

feel His gracious fill.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gift of Your presence. Thank You that You touch us individually, and through Your touch, we are drawn closer still to You. Forgive us for not bringing both our needs and our praises before You, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every response leads us to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we enjoy the experience of Your presence and are drawn ever closer unto You. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Jesus is…

My pastor began a series yesterday, titled, Jesus is… The intent of the next several weeks is to unpack through scripture, just who Jesus is, and what that means to us, individually. First and foremost, Jesus is God. Again and again, scripture affirms how He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 1:8) Jesus is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15) Jesus is the exact representation of God. (Hebrews 1:3) Christ is the chief cornerstone in whom all join together to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:20-21) Scriptures throughout the Bible point to the truth that Jesus is God. The more we understand and learn about who Jesus is, the clearer picture we will have of God. The character of Jesus is the character of God.

 

Many people have a misguided image of God. They perhaps have heard just a part of the story and see God as an angry God. Would an angry God send His Son to restore relationship with people for all time? Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, showed us the heart of the living God. Not only is God loving, but He is a God of compassion too.

 

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man, “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

 

Jesus cared more about a man in his moment of need, than He did about societies social graces. It was unacceptable to touch one considered unclean, yet Jesus touched he who was thought to be untouchable, and healed more than just a physical ailment. Suffering and separation from society ceased, with one tender touch from Jesus. May we hold fast to the truth that our God is compassionate and caring, and that He is willing to touch us, even when we feel that we are untouchable.

 

Invisible God,The Power of His Name

elusive, unseen;

yet so crystal clear,

through Jesus, is seen.

Compassionate Lord,

Who comes close to touch;

to cure what’s ailing,

because He loves much.

Alpha, Omega,

beginning and end;

all the in between,

our Savior and friend.

He’s hope in the hard,

and peace in the storm;

joy in the morning,

and Light all day long.

May we ever seek,

to understand more;

the nature of God,

through Christ’s open door.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are in a tangible way. Jesus, thank You that You made clear that You are the living God. Thank You that the better we come to know You, the more clearly we understand who God is. Forgive us for having misguided opinions or orientations toward You, and help us to set our sights solely on the pursuit of who You are, so that You may instruct us in all things. Teach us to trust You completely, and to listen well to all that You have to say. Lead us to love others as You love – with compassion that is not afraid to reach out and touch, even the seemingly untouchable. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we grow in our understanding of Christ. Amen.

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

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

Choose to Follow

Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. – (Mark 1:20)

 

This verse is in reference to when Jesus called James and John to come and follow Him. “Although it took time for Jesus’ call and His message to get through, the disciples followed. In the same way, we may question and falter, but we must never stop following.” – (NIV footnotes for Mark 1:16-20) It is our charge to do likewise. Though we may not always understand, and we make mistakes and have questions, our call is to keep following Christ. As we do, our faith will grow and our understanding of His ways and His will shall multiply. He is faithful to meet us where we are, if we are willing to choose to follow Him. Following Christ will not necessarily be convenient, nor easy, but it will always be worthwhile. May we set aside our nets, and simply follow Him.

 

To heed the call,Choose to Follow

forego delay;

set aside all,

and choose obey.

All that He asks,

of us today;

may we stand up,

trust in His way.

Despite unknown,

do anyway;

He shall remain,

now and always.

He is faithful,

and hears us pray;

He will answer,

rest in His stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to follow You, we need not always understand everything, or be without flaw, as long as we continue after You. Thank You that the longer we follow You, the more You reveal Yourself to us. Forgive us for our flawed thinking and understanding about who You are, and how You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may grow in Your grace and gain deeper insight as to who You are, and just how much You love each one of us. May we go forth and love others, as You so generously love each of us. May lives be changed and hearts be healed as Your love is revealed to those who seek You. Be glorified, O God, as we follow You in faith. Amen.

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

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