A Silent Saturday

Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. – (Mark 15:44-46, NIV)

 

After the devastation of the cross, a faithful few prepared Jesus’ body and buried Him in a tomb. By sun up, it would be the Sabbath, and no one would be going anywhere or doing anything. The disciples and other followers of Jesus likely spent the day in mourning. Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Pharisees were not at all at ease. They went to Pilate because they recalled the words of Jesus, and clearly had concerns about what might transpire in the coming days.

 

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” – (Matthew 27:63-64, NIV)

 

Consequently, Pilate ordered his guards to make the tomb secure and to stand guard at the tomb. That Saturday, all seemed to be silent. Jewish law kept mourners from moving about and doing much of anything, and I imagine that each of the faithful followers of Jesus retreated to their own homes and pondered all that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. It is as if the world stopped spinning, and all were stuck in a silent space of grief and disbelief. For me, knowing the whole story, I am in a space between awe and agony at the weight of all that Jesus bore on my behalf, and the anticipation of celebration, knowing that He conquered death and rose again the very next day.  Today is a space of waiting. Silent reflection and appreciation are what flood my heart and mind. I mourn my own sinfulness, yet overflow with gratitude for the salvation that is granted because He bore it all for me. May we each find our own quiet moments to reflect on the magnitude of what our Maker did for us all as we stay in this space of sacred silence.

 

This day of waiting, A SIlent Saturday

Sabbath long ago;

The Savior, buried,

Seemed hope’s final blow.

The world lay silent,

The Savior was dead;

Where were they to go,

What could have been said?

Silent reflection,

Such grief on that day;

What could have been done,

Unrealized grace.

O painful waiting,

To go to the tomb;

Observe in anguish,

Savior’s seeming doom.

The stillness gave way,

For we know the end;

Death could not hold Him,

As He rose again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin upon Yourself; for we are the ones deserving sanctions of suffering, not You. Forgive us for not fully embracing the weight of what You have done for us, or for questioning whether or not Your sacrifice truly covered it all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the mercy and grace provided at the cross, and demonstrate our gratitude by living a life that ever seeks Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes the promise that joy comes in the morning no matter how dark the night appears, evident. May many come to embrace the grace that You made possible through Your death and resurrection on this holy weekend so long ago. Be glorified O God, as we set our hearts in silent reflection over all that You did to make us acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

 

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

 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22

Called to be Family

When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27, NLT)

 

As Jesus was hanging on the cross, weighed down by the weight of the world’s sin, He still took notice of the growing grief on the faces of those He dearly loved. A further example of how Jesus loved people, even as He hung in agony, is revealed to us in this short exchange between Jesus, His mother, and John. Knowing that both Mary and John would need comfort and care from another who had shared in the entire experience of the life and death of Jesus, He presented them to each other in new familial roles so that they could help one another in Jesus’ absence. Clearly Christ’s words were taken to heart, as John took Mary into his home from that day forward. Jesus is all about relationship. He cares about our heart and wants our grieving hearts to be comforted. The people around us are not in place by mistake. He sets the lonely in families, and loves us to life when our light has grown dim. May we ever fix our eyes on Christ, and allow Him to move in us and through us in ways that bring comfort and care to all in need, as we look to the hope that is held forever in Him.Called to be Family 1

 

Jesus sees our hearts,

And knows all our needs;

Surrounds the lonely,

And hungry, He feeds.

Wherever we are,

He sees and He knows;

His heart is to love,Called to be Family 2

So our faith might grow.

Even in anguish,

Christ spoke how to be;

Support each other,

We’re now family.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that family is not only those related by blood, but rather they are those whom You surround us with to be our safety and support. Thank You that Jesus showed us how important it is to be in ongoing relationship with one another, as it was one of the last things He pointed out before He drew His last breath on the cross. Forgive us for withdrawing or not investing ourselves into those that You have placed in our lives to be family – whether they are related by blood or not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace and invest in those around us, just as we are called to do. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Turn to Trust

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3, NLT)

When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon You alone. – (Psalm 56:3, VOICE)

When I get really afraid I come to You in trust. – (Psalm 56:3, MSG)

 

I so appreciate that these were the honest words prayed by the heart of David, who was a mighty warrior. As one who had fought lions, giants, armies, elements, exhaustion and having to endure the anguish of alone, he identified and admitted his fear, and recognized and ran to the One in whom he knew he could trust. God was faithful to be present and protect David, despite the times of trial that he endured. The very same God who was worthy of such trust for David, remains present, approachable and available for each of us today. If fear attempts to find footing, we have One to whom we can run. May we depend securely upon the Lord alone, for He is the One in whom we can place all of our trust.

 

When fear tries creep in,Compassion in Confrontations

May we turn to trust;

For our God alone,

Is faithful and just.

As we choose let go,

Give God all our fear;

He makes His heart known,

Through His drawing near.

To come still closer,

The Lord welcomes us;

To release each fear,

And trust in Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can come to You and trust You to be present and faithful to remain with us. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for choosing to remain frozen in our fears, rather than running to You and laying them at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring You our every fear, and trust You to lead us and guide us through the spaces that seem far beyond what we are equipped to handle. Show us how to love well, every person that we encounter, so that they might gain glimpses of You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You when we are afraid, knowing that You are faithful; always. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Compassion in Confrontations

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14)

 

Despite having just learned of the death of His dear cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus set aside the solitude He was seeking to mourn, and chose to heal the hurts of others instead. Christ’s compassion is so great, that He chose to set aside His own sorrow, and allow His light and life to flow into those who had not yet come to know what true love looks like. When we are suffering or stuck in a sorrowful space, we need not stand alone. For Christ, who came and experienced loss and pain and suffering far greater than our own grief, is loving and kind, and will be compassionate and close, if we call on His Name. May we remember to reach out to our Redeemer in all thing at all times, for He is compassionate and has wholeness in store for all who call on Him.

 

For Jesus has known,Compassion in Confrontations

the darkness of grief;

the anguish of loss,

the need to retreat.

Yet in His sorrow,

He kept His eyes up;

healing the hurting,

with His tender touch.

May we do likewise,

no matter what comes;

allow Christ to move,

so His will is done.

Christ calls us to love,

as He has loved us;

in kindness be near,

let Him fill each cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and the Healer of our souls. Thank You that You came and showed us that even in You own season of sorrow, You set aside Your space to withdraw when You saw needs that You could meet in the moment. Thank You that You modeled compassion that was not limited by circumstance. Forgive us for being blinded by our own sorrow or pain, and help us to see the needs surrounding us that You can meet through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing and available in all things and at all times, despite what we are going through. Lead us to love with kindness and compassion, just as You so tenderly and completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the hope that is held in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we choose to convey compassion and kindness, even in the midst of our greatest confrontations. Amen.

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

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

Let the Righteous Rejoice

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; let all the upright in heart praise Him! – (Psalm 64:10)

 

In Christ, because of His perfect sacrifice for us on the cross, we are considered righteous, or upright before Him. As we are among the Lord’s righteous, we are able to take refuge in Him, as He is our safety and strong tower. For these things alone, we ought to give Him our praise.

 

To rejoice in the Lord is a choice, despite our circumstances. It is an intentional recognition of the joy that is ours, as we are certain of our present hope of the future glory that is held in the hearts of all who believe.

 

Taking refuge in Him, is running to our Redeemer when anguish, uncertainty, panic or ruin are present before us, and we simply trust in Him. He holds us in the palm of His hands, and is more than able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we go forth this day recognizing that if we are in Christ, we are considered cleansed and upright before Him, therefore, let us give Him all of our thanks and praise!

 

 

Rejoice in the Lord,fortress  image from wikipedia

take refuge in Him;

He’ll not let us fall,

on His side, we win.

To Him we’re upright,

covered and called clean;

no more scarred sinners,

we have been redeemed.

No matter what comes,

for all of our days;

let us give Him thanks,

and all of our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us righteous and upright when we give our lives to You. Thank You that we may run and take refuge in You, always. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise, as You alone deserve all that we have to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may invest all that we are into all that You have for us to become. Lead us to love others as You so intentionally and lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we rejoice and take refuge in You, giving You all of our thanks and praise. Amen.

 

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Love Sees

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27)

 

The command that we are given to love one another, is powerfully modeled by Jesus as He hung on the cross. Even in anguish, He recognized the needs of His mother that would have to be filled, and asked His dear friend to see to it that she would be cared for in His parting. John, Jesus’ disciple loved enough to be present and to say yes, and Jesus had loved so completely, that each knew what it was to love and be loved as Jesus was asking. Soon after that significant moment, John, Mary and the rest of the disciples, came to understand just how great His sacrifice truly was. Jesus’ act of love and sacrifice made way for all mankind to come to know Him, personally; individually; eternally. May we go forth and care well for our families and all whom are in need around us, just as Jesus did.

 

Even in anguish,The Look of Love 2

love sees other’s needs;

it moves and it acts,

love touches and feeds.

Love comes alongside,

when struggles are real;

love extends a hand,

or prepares a meal.

Love chooses silence,

to listen, not speak;

to hear what’s broken,

give strength to the weak.

When there is sorrow,

love still chooses stay;

reminds there is hope,

for Love makes a way.

When joy is present,

love celebrates too;

for we’re hand-crafted,

Love’s making us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You made the way for us to be brought back into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for coming and living, loving, sacrificing and demonstrating Your overwhelming power and presence, all because You love us. Thank You that You modeled what it is to love others. Forgive us for not loving others well. Give us Your eyes to see everyone whom we encounter – from friends and family to strangers on the street. May we love each one, as You would. Grant us wisdom and insight as to how You would have us love, individually, and let us not grow weary in doing good. Let Your love flow freely through us, and may many come to know You as the Lord of their life, as a result. Be exalted, O God, as we look to love others as You love us. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

He Hears Our Cry

“O Lord, I say to You, ‘You are my God.’ Hear, O Lord, My cry for mercy.” – (Psalm 140:6)

Yesterday afternoon, just prior to setting out for a gathering with dear friends, I learned that a gal whom I had grown up with, had lost her seventeen-year-old son. My heart filled with heaviness on her behalf, and all I could do was cry out to God, to cover she and her family with His peace and His presence in this horrific time of grief.
Too often, young lives end long before they seemingly should. These treasures that we are given from God, are cut short, leaving so many to grieve and wonder why. There is hope, despite the desperate tragedy. When we raise and instruct them in the ways that they are meant to go, the truth will be hidden in their hearts. Our ultimate hope is held in our eternal reunion. Though there is a seemingly agonizing season of separation on earth, imagine an eternity together…

When precious lives lost,Shan

young taken too soon;

hearts torn and broken,

with Christ, come commune.

He is the sweet space,

where healing begins;

He is the hope held,

as anguish extends.

Every cry heard,

that we offer up;

He’ll hold heart and hand,

and carry our cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God, and that You hear our every cry. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, and that You are able to bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to place all into Your hands. Please provide Your peace and comfort to those who are in desperate spaces of despair, and move hearts and minds to surround the hurting to extend Your comfort and calm, simply by being present. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the security and safety found in salvation in You. Be exalted in everything that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

Perseverence in the Face of Persecution

Jesus was no stranger to insult, persecution, and slanderous statements. From the night on which He was betrayed, until the moment He drew His last breath on the cross, He endured ongoing evil against Him at the hands of men. Despite the malice and maltreatment, Jesus was without sin. In fact, He sustained suffering we cannot begin to fathom at the hands of mankind, all for the sake of our sins. He chose to hang on the cross and be subject to all the anguish, so that we could have life in Him. In the throes of His affliction, He asked God to forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing. What kind of love does that?

 

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” – (Matthew 5:11)

 

This particular verse comes from the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus gave some specific words of encouragement for those who would come and follow Him. Jesus himself, spoke the words about rejoicing when we are persecuted. He did not simply ask nor instruct us in these things, but rather He modeled it with His very life. Though I have not reached a point yet where I embrace even the idea of persecution, there are benefits in the process, for those who believe. Withstanding persecution takes our eyes off of earthly rewards, and instead points to the eternal; it strengthens the faith of those who endure, and those who persevere faithfully, serve as incredible witnesses.

 

Let not slander,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

tear your heart down;

think of Jesus,

and that thorny crown.

Though He suffered,

He chose to give;

His life away,

so we might now live.

Insults were thrown,

and lies were told;

yet Jesus loved,

the Hope we can hold.

As nails were placed,

in outstretched hands;

He still chose love,

to fulfill His plan.

As skies grew dark,

and lots were cast;

the veil was torn,

and Christ breathed His last.

The best of it,

was coming soon;

for in three days,

stood the empty tomb…

 

Dear Jesus, thank You that You came. Thank You that You lived and loved and showed us what it is to walk in Your way and do the will of the Father. Thank You that You did not leave us on our own and expect us to just figure it all out, as You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us, so that we have help and comfort and Your constant presence with us always. Forgive us for fearing the trials that may come our way, and grant us strength and grace to endure all things. Teach us to trust You as our source of strength and hope, even when things seem unbearable. Please grant Your peace to those who are in the midst of such suffering, and give comfort to their loved ones who are away from them. Help us to love as You love us, and may many come to know the blessed hope held in You alone. Be exalted in 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

 

 

Purposefully Made

Purposefully MadePeter, yes Peter,

him who had thrice denied;

spoke boldly in truth,

Christ’s power realized.

He knew forgiveness,

clung tightly to the grace;

received God’s power,

Spirit poured in this place.

The crowd heard him speak,

his words cut to the heart;

in anguish they asked,

“How can we find fresh start?”

“In His holy Name,

be baptized and repent,

Jesus will forgive,

and His Spirit be sent.”

Many hearts did turn,

and lives forever changed;

by obedience,

of fisherman’s life claimed.

He will use us all,

if we’re willing to go;

may our hearts hear Him,

so His plans we shall know.

(Responding to Acts 2:14-41)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that so many of the men and women that are recorded as faithful followers in Your word, did not start out that way. Thank You that You show us time and time again that You take broken and sinful people who turn to You and want to serve, and use them to touch lives and transform communities. Thank You that You have created each one of us with a plan and a purpose, and have planted us where we are to invest in the people around us. Forgive us for feeling inadequate or insignificant, and help us to remember that You are our Source and Strength, and that anything good that comes out of us, is a gift from You. May Your light and love be what others clearly see, and may many come into an eternal relationship with You. Amen.

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

Sorrow’s Escape

image by James Fletcher

image by James Fletcher

Sorrow seeps out,

with deep gasps for air;

solitude waits,

tempered with prayer.

Anguish erupts,

with casting of care;

gentle His touch,

as He holds us there.

Gone is the weight,

of such sorrowful snare;

burden He lifts,

removing despair.

Troubled the soul,

that knows not His care;

blessed the One,

who holds us close there.

Sing praise to God,

our Father, so fair;

who heals our hurts,

tender His repair.

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” – (Psalm 147:3)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold our heart and hands when the weight of our woes seem beyond what we can bear. Thank You that You do not want for us to hold them in our hands, but rather You request that we place them in Yours. Thank You that You hold us close, and provide safe space to grieve. Thank You that though mourning may last for a time, Your joy will remain forever. Forgive us for trying to be strong enough, and help us to allow You to hold us up in our weakness. Teach us to turn to You in total trust, and show us how to cast every care upon You. May our times of mourning further magnify the joy that is found in You alone. Let the hope we hold, even in the grip of grief, lead those who are looking, to Your loving care. All glory and honor to You, our Holy Healer. Amen.

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