What words do you long to hear?
Words are important. With our tongues, we can speak life or cut someone to the core.
Growing up, children were to be seen, not heard - that applied in my family. Dinner time talk was my dad's talking about General Motors. Huh, now that I think of it, I do not ever remember having a discussion with my parents; I guess it was just a different day. Neither compliments nor encouragement were bandied about, actually, criticism was more the order of the day, especially from my dad. Showing weakness was not acceptable, after all, I was a ‘Todd’ and Todd’s were strong, ‘never let ‘em see you sweat’. So I guess it is no surprise that words of affirmation would top my list of love languages!1
Words are important. What words do you long to hear, ever thought about it?
Mark recounts the day Jesus asked John (the Baptist) to baptize him … how I should like to have been there!
Lord, as we open your Word, please illumine our hearts and minds to the account of that day at the Jordan River. Clear away that which would distract, and speak to us~
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Mark 1.9-11
Several things to notice here… this is the start of Jesus’ life and ministry around the beautiful Galilee region, as He makes his way to his cousin John to first be baptized. Note: all three members of the beautiful Trinity are present: Jesus, Son of God, being immersed in the river-- the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and God the Father speaking aloud from Heaven.
Less than two weeks ago, I was at the believed sight of Jesus’ baptism (approximately), not far from the city of Jericho. Fascinating spot really. One bank of the beloved river flies the Jordanian flag, while the place of descent into the water is marked by a blue and white Israeli flag. Nothing commercial about the spot whatsoever, just a crude changing area and a couple Israeli soldiers standing nearby.
Seventeen people were baptized in the murky water – wait, did I say c-c-c-old water? There were shrieks reacting to the cold, and also tears of joy and smiles aplenty--those coming out of the water and those watching. Strumming her guitar, Morea sang and sometimes cried over us until she too joined me in the water. Beautiful, it was! Pictured are my friends Robert and Renee, with their lovely, sweet granddaughter, Maddy, and her sweet mama Betsy. On this day, I know that I know that I know that God smiled. (pictured above)
To be clear, water baptism is not a ritual to find God, it is not a spiritual rite to become ‘Christian’. Baptism is an outward act to mark a personal decision of surrender to Jesus as Lord in response to his great love and saving work on the cross for each of us.
But let’s go back to that day at the Jordan River so long ago. What words were heard from heaven? You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased. Indeed, those are the words I long to hear God say to me, along with the words Jesus later used as he taught, Well done, thou good and faithful servant.2 I submit to you it does not get any better than that.
You know, Jesus did not have to earn those words, but in a sense, we do---oh, not by being good or better than anyone else, but by choosing to walk daily in the footsteps of Jesus. Obedience is a choice. We determine each day what we will hear spoken to us one day. Hmmm...
Today I'm wondering: will you join me and like the psalmist say, 'Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me'?3 That is a good simple prayer to breathe out to your Father,
'Direct my footsteps according to your word...
let no sin rule over me for I desire to walk
in the footsteps of Jesus. Amen.'
And one more thing I'm wondering--will you choose your words with care today, speaking life to those near you? Hmmm.
How appropriate is this new song: Living Water by my girl, Anne Wilson:
Walking in his footsteps,
1 – Five Love Languages - Dr. Gary Chapman
2 - Matthew 25.23
3 - Psalm 119.133 (note the border in the water below)
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