Hope Rises

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:2-6, NIV)

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” – (Mark 16:6, NIV)

“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day, be raised again.” Then they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, NIV)

 

Mary and Mary Magdalene had been with Jesus consistently throughout the previous three years. They had witnessed miracles and listened to His teachings, again and again. On the day that He was crucified, the two were mentioned as they stood at the foot of the cross, and the two were there watching as Pilate’s guards placed the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb. In the morning, on the third day, the day following the Sabbath, Mary and Mary Magdalene hurried to the place where Jesus lay, hoping to at least gain a glimpse of His body, likely to honor the Savior with their mourning. I can only imagine their shock and disbelief at the sight of giant gleaming angel, seated on the enormous stone that had been rolled away. I wonder if their hearts leaped within them as the angel of the Lord reminded them of Jesus’ own words, when He had foretold of His resurrection. As soon as the words settled in, they viewed the empty tomb, and realized that all Jesus had spoken, had come to pass. Today, we remember the remarkable way that Jesus came to offer salvation to all who believe. He died in our place, but not even death, a dreadful death on a cross, could overcome our Giver of Life. Death was defeated and Jesus is alive! His death, so we may live; His resurrection, so that we have hope for eternity with Him. May we celebrate this glorious day in the knowledge that He is Risen and we can forever dwell with Him!

 

Early one morning, Hope in an Empty Tomb

Many years ago;

While others still slept,

Two ladies did go.

They walked to the tomb,

Where Jesus did lay;

Angelic greeting,

The stone rolled away.

The tomb sat empty,

Jesus was not there;

“The Lord is alive”,

The angel declared.

In awe and wonder,

The women recalled;

Jesus said He’d rise,

New hope was installed.

Jesus is alive,

Death has lost its sting;

All sin, defeated,

Through Christ’s offering.

Celebrate in faith,

His power to rise;

Through death and new life,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that death was defeated and our sins, forgiven. Thank You for the hope and the power that is planted in us through the resurrection. Forgive us for not recognizing both the weight and the wonder, as Jesus took it all so that we might live. Teach us to look upon the cross with great gratitude, and recall the empty tomb with resurrected hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays the hope we hold because death was defeated for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Risen Redeemer. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your ultimate victory and praise You for the power You impart to us, so that we too may be overcomers, with hope that is secure for our eternity. Amen.

 

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

 

“Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:7

The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Wonderful Counselor

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. – (Revelation 21:4, NLT) 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone. – (Revelation 21:4, ERV) 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and eliminate death entirely. No one will mourn or weep any longer. The pain of wounds will no longer exist, for the old order has ceased. – (Revelation 21:4, TPT) 

 

Yesterday, as my pastor continued in our current series, “The Light Has Come”, he spoke about our Wonderful Counselor in Jesus. As he unpacked several things about Jesus as our “Wonderful Counselor”, he included the original meaning of the words in Greek. Wonderful, as used in Isaiah and in its first appearance after God parted the Red Sea when Moses celebrated in a song of praise, the word means “beyond wonder”. Counselor means “guide with purpose”. Our Wonderful Counselor is always available, always aware, and always answers, as He guides with purpose in a way that is beyond wonder. With that in mind, there is no question as to why we are called to seek the Lord in all things and at all times. The hope we hold in Him reminds us that all of our present pain will pass away, as He tends to our every sorrow. This is an excellent encouragement after a week of sorrow and loss. God is faithful, and He will meet us, hear us and guide us in His goodness and grace, as we seek Him, our Wonderful Counselor. 

 

Almighty, our God, All Things Made New

Promised Prince of Peace; 

Soother of sorrow, 

Where grace is released. 

He’s beyond wonder, 

How He loves and guides; 

Provides future hope, 

As we choose abide. 

Run to the Father, 

His love always hears; 

Faithful, He’ll answer, 

All who choose draw near. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the blessed hope that one day all death, sorrow and pain will pass away, and Your new will come. Thank You that in the in-between time, You are our Wonderful Counselor, ever available, aware and faithful to answer. Forgive us for our lack of faith, or for seeking counsel anywhere other than You first. Thank You that You provide people to come alongside us as Your hands, heart and voice, making Your grace tangible. Show us how to love others in a way that does just that – extends Your hands, heart and voice to those needing Your love made visible in dark and sorrowful spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and rely on You to be our Wonderful Counselor in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Look to the Heart

But The Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)


I am thoroughly enjoying my time at high school camp. People made all sorts of assumptions about teens, and what it might be like to be surrounded by so many for an entire week. These young people have tender hearts that are earnestly seeking our Savior. Despite the struggles and distractions of their day to day, they are hungry to have more of Him. God sees their hearts and is moving in mighty ways. We can’t ever discount anyone based on what we see or think we know; for The Lord sees and knows the heart – and through the heart, comes the remarkable. May we seek The Lord in all things, expecting Him to move mightily in the hearts of all who believe. 
Do not choose discount, 

 One based on what’s seen;

For God sees the heart,

The calling unseen. 

We’re not meant to judge,

To use what we see;

To decide who God,

Will call royalty. 

So often the heart,

Holds treasures unseen;

We need to give room,

For gifts to be freed. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not judge us by height nor appearance, but rather You look at our heart. Forgive us for determining what we think of others based on what we see, rather than leaving room to really know their hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so we would have Your eyes to see the treasure You have created in everyone around us. Show us how to love people in such a way that they might know they are valued as Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at the heart of Your people in whom You delight. Amen. 
For The Lord your God will bless you, … and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15


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



Near to Those Who Call

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – (Psalm 145:18)

God promises to be present when we call on His Name. He is near, when we feel fear. As we pray and trust in He who made our hearts and hands, He is faithful to come close and make His presence known. Our job is to trust God, more than that which we are facing. As we do, we become acutely aware of how great God is, and how His presence can shrink the appearance of the obstacles before us. Far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world. May we choose to call on Christ in truth and in trust, and be still long enough to become aware of how close He comes in our every moment of need.

In truth we must call,

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

image by Avi Duckor-Jones

on the Name of God;

for He shall be near,

on each path we trod.

We must trust in Him,

and look to His face;

to become aware,

of His present place.

For each time we ask,

He makes Himself known;

helps us know He’s near,

as His love is shown.

Whatever we face,

shan’t even compare;

to the Lord’s goodness,

once we are aware.

Present in moments,

of fear and despair;

He’s strength and He’s hope,

when we’re unaware.

Let us each rise up,

and call on His Name;

for we can all trust,

promises proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in truth, You are near. Thank You that Your presence is enough to strengthen, sustain, encourage, enlighten, and supply all that we need to navigate through any storm. Thank You that You first loved us, so that we may come to know You. Forgive us for failing to call on You in times of need and in times of thanksgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in truth and in trust in all things and at all times. Lead us to love in such a way, that Your light and hope is clearly expressed to those who don’t yet know You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we call on You in truth and are aware of how very near You are. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

He Sees and Attends to His Created

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never even seen – don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? – (Matthew 6:30, The Message)

When life gets hard and we want to hide, it is easy to feel unseen. In the midst of our own struggles, our isolation often leads us to feel as if we are alone in the battle, despite quite the opposite being true. We have to hold fast to what is true, and not allow ourselves to isolate when we question the direction to which we have been called. Just yesterday, I had an interaction that made me question what I knew was the truth. My initial response was to withdraw and busy myself, so that I could ignore that which was right before me. However, it wasn’t long before the gentle nudge came, and opportunities were provided for His truth to be spoken in the very space that I needed to hear. He attended to my need in a way I could again lay hold of the truth that I already knew, and stand firm in the soundness of His word. God made tangible, that which was not clearly seen. It is okay to be an unseen wildflower for a season, as long as we know that the Lord who created us, delights in us, and created us for a purpose. Even if we can’t clearly see it, there is a plan and a purpose for every life, and He is present and powerful to supply all that is needed to grow us and equip us for the fulfillment. May we stand strong in faith, trusting that God will attend to us and do His very best for each of us, His created.

Whether we are seen,

travelportland.com

travelportland.com

or hidden between;

the Lord will attend,

to all that we need.

Each are created,

with purpose and plan;

not an accident,

we’re called to love man.

God’s love runs so deep,

He attends to all;

no one is hidden,

hears each cry and call.

May we choose rise up,

by faith, let’s receive;

His grace and goodness,

for all who believe.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care so deeply about us, Your created. Thank You that You attend to us, take pride in us, and do Your best for us. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for every life that You have granted. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overwhelm us or divert our attention from the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stand firm in who You are, and the promises that You have made. Lead us to love others well, so that we might be Your hands, heart and voice made tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You have placed before us with confidence, knowing that You will attend to us and do Your best for us. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

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

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Clean before Christ is a condition of the heart and mind, not an appearance of our physical form. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were more concerned with their traditions and rituals that cleansed the outside and limited what and how they could consume nourishment, that they ended up completely neglecting their true need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus himself said the following: “Are you so dull?” he asked, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” – (Mark 7:18-19)

 

We too, ought to be aware as well. What we consume with our heart and mind, determine our cleanliness before Christ. Do we honor Him with the choices we are making? If we falter, do we stop and ask for forgiveness and help so that we can avoid similar temptation in the future? The Lord looks at our hearts. He sees and knows where our priorities lie. May we seek Him first in all things, so that we may keep clean hearts and clear minds before Him.

 

Create in me, Lord,Intentional Retreat

a heart that is clean;

one that always seeks,

truth in the unseen.

For out of the heart,

is where life may flow;

to You we belong,

let Your love light show.

May our hearts and minds,

stay right before You;

so we act in love,

to Thee ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that external things and the foods that we consume cannot make us unclean before You. Thank You that our cleansing happens from the inside out. Thank You that You cleanse our hearts and minds if we are only willing to allow You access to all. Forgive us for focusing on external things, rather than on keeping our hearts and minds pure before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our hearts and minds in Your care, allowing You to cleanse and restore the places that are infected with things that should have never been allowed a voice. Help us to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a cleansing relationship with You, Lord God. Be glorified as we are obedient to all that You are asking. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Decide to Trust

Not only is the story of Paul’s conversion a remarkable one for him, but those who were involved, made monumental decisions of obedience in order for Saul’s sight to be restored and his new identity in Christ to come to pass. Ananias, whom the Lord had called to go to Saul to restore his sight, knew of Saul’s reputation. Ananias had reason to fear interaction with Saul, as Saul had been chasing down Christians, persecuting and imprisoning them. However, Ananias was faithful, and his trust in God was greater than his fear of man. When God told him that the man he was to heal was His chosen instrument to carry His Name before many, Ananias opted to obey.

 

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – (Acts 9:17)

 

Not only did Ananias obey, but he greeted Saul in love. By calling him Brother Saul, he was already demonstrating an acceptance through Christ, despite all the despicable deeds he had done. It is not always easy to extend acceptance to others who enter in, especially when we are unsure of their motives. Yes, wisdom must be exercised, but if we listen to the Lord and lean on Him, He will teach us how to trust Him and how to love others as He would have us do. May we listen well, so that we can love others as He calls us to love.

 

Despite appearance,Decide to Trust

give trust to the Lord;

for we do not know,

the plans He’ll afford.

Christ extends much grace,

where we would choose not;

and uses the changed,

so we might be taught.

The Lord’s mighty hand,

can transform the hard;

makes a mighty force,

not to disregard.

Seek to understand,

the Lord’s will, unseen;

obey what He asks,

as His plan is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, in spite of our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us to come before You, and You love us to life. Thank You that just as You have loved us to life, You desire the same for all who are still stuck in their sinfulness. Forgive us for fearing approach those whom have been in darkness unknown to us, or for questioning the motives of those whom have pasts that are different than our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well to hear Your instruction, and be quick to obey whatever You ask. May we love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so generously love us. Let the lost be found forever in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to step out in obedience. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Such A Time As This

I love the story of Esther. This morning, as my daily reading had me go through chapters three through eight, the ah-ha that grabbed my attention was found in the footnotes that accompany verses 4:17-5:1. God was in control, yet Mordecai and Esther had to act. We cannot understand how both can be true at the same time, and yet they are. God chooses to work through those willing to act for Him. We should pray as if all depended on God and act as if all depended on us… (NIV footnotes)

 

Esther knew what she needed to do, yet had the wisdom to seek prayerful covering prior to her appearance before the king. She and all of the Jews who were willing to join her in fasting and praying, did so with all of their hearts for three days prior to her act of faith. For Esther to appear before the king without being summoned could have resulted in her demise. However, God’s favor was upon her, and the king received her into his presence and heard the petition she presented before him. Mordecai’s words to her when she first learned about the edict against her people, confirmed what she knew she must do. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” – (Esther 4:14)

 

How are we being called to act on God’s behalf? Wherever we are called, and whatever we are called to do, we must be prayerfully depend on God, and faithfully move forward in action. May we each honor the Lord wherever we have be placed, for this time, in this space.

 

As we choose silence,Certain Hope

so that we may hear;

what is God asking,

in spite of our fear?

Always there is risk,

a powerful price;

yet, the freedom found,

will more than suffice.

For our steps of faith,

are met by the Lord;

Who upholds our hearts,

and grace is outpoured.

Wherever we are,

is intentional;

a time such as this,

be exceptional.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in all things we are to pray, completely depending on You, yet move forward in the strength that You have granted us to go forth. Thank You that You have placed each of us where we are for a purpose. Thank You that no matter how things appear, we are where we are, for such a time as this. Forgive us for not recognizing the opportunities that You place before us, not depending on You when we ought to, and for not moving forward when You have told us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may act immediately when we hear You ask. Help us to love others as You so generously love us, and may many come to know the mercy and grace that You freely give to all who come before You. Be glorified Lord God, as we make the most of this time and space.

© 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