Triumphant Entry

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” – (Matthew 21:8-9, NIV)

On the way to Jerusalem, many people spread their coats on the road for Jesus. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Some of the people were walking ahead of Jesus. Others were walking behind Him. They all shouted, “Praise to the Son of David!” ‘Welcome! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Praise to God in heaven!” – (Matthew 21:8-9, ERV)

Then an exceptionally large crowd gathered and carpeted the road before Him with their cloaks and prayer shawls. Others cut down branches from trees to spread in His path. Jesus road in the center of the procession – crowds going before Him and crowds coming behind Him, and they all shouted, “Bring the victory, Lord, Son of David! He comes with the blessings of being sent from the Lord Yahweh! We celebrate with praises to God in the highest!” – (Matthew 21:8-9, TPT)

 

This portion of the road to Easter story, never ceases to amaze me. It is difficult to wrap my mind around a huge crowd throwing their coats and palm branches on the road before Jesus, so that He would cross before them on a space that recognized and acknowledged His significance as they shouted out the truth of who He was, only to have a mob mentality less than a week later, to have Him crucified. Further in the passage, the crowd follows Jesus to the temple and He continues to teach and heal and love as He had always done. Imagine His perspective as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. He knew what was coming, yet He chose to enter into town. In our broken humanity, we likely would have questioned the crowd or looked upon them with a lesser love, knowing where the week was going. However, Jesus, in His perfect love, likely took in every face and chose love all the more. He could have turned and ridden right back out of town, and no one would have questioned Him. Jesus entered with purpose, on purpose, and did not deter from He knew He had to do. Love for all of humanity drove Him; love for each one of us, individually, kept Him there. May we turn our hearts and minds to Christ, the risen King, as we enter into this most sacred and surreal Easter week. He is good, and His love endures for all time.

 

Triumphant entry, Palm Sunday

The crowds shouted praise;

All glory to God,

Through sayings they raised.

They made a clear path,

For Christ to ride in;

Such honor granted,

Holy week begins.

Imagine seeing,

The One they foretold;

Passing before you,

A sight to behold.

Help us to take pause,

Reflect and recall;

The great magnitude,

Your entry for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored back to life with You. Thank You that in this season of so much unsettled and unknown, You have settled and You know. Thank You for Your love that entered in, despite the horrendous weight that You were chosen to bear on our behalf. Forgive us for not taking time to pause and reflect on the holiness of this season. Teach us to have a greater grasp of what You have done for us so that we might know love and life abundant in You. Show us how to love others with the same tenacity that You have as You choose to love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reflect, remember and rejoice in the incredible sacrifice that You made so that we would have abundant life in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

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

Overcoming Power

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of us. 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 54:8

New Life from What Appears Empty

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. Se the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.'” – (Mark 16:6-7)

These two verses are packed full of significance. They demonstrate just how personal Jesus is to people, and how specifically He cares for us, individually. He knew to have the waiting messenger first tell those who found the empty tomb to not be afraid. Jesus knew their hearts and knew that fear would be their first response. Next, he showed them where the Savior had been laid, so they could see for themselves that He had risen, just as He had said He would do. After that, the ladies were charged with the task of going to tell the disciples, (with specific mention of Peter who had just denied Jesus three times) that Christ had risen! Finally, they were assured that Jesus had gone ahead of them to Galilee, and that they would get to see Him there, just as He had promised.

Jesus knows us. He knows our hearts and our needs. He knows what we need to see and hear to understand and to fend off fear. Jesus takes our circumstances and places people in our path whom convey hope that He is good and His word is true. Christ remains present with us, and does not leave us, despite how things appear. Though the ladies approached an empty tomb, what they discovered was the risen Lord. May we approach our empty tombs with hopeful hearts, trusting that the Lord knows our needs and will lead us and stay beside us, to the place where we too, witness the wonder of what He has planned.

Our Savior Jesus,Hope in an Empty Tomb

knows us each by name;

His heart is for us,

and His truth remains.

No matter what comes,

or stands in our way;

the Lord is our help,

our peace each new day.

Seek Christ in triumph,

and when troubles come;

He’s ever ready,

where our hope is from.

Dear heart, hold not fear,

for Jesus made way;

to overcome all,

as we trust and pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us, individually and personally. Thank You that You know our needs before we even express them, and You love us where we are at. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we encounter the seemingly empty tombs in our lives, and teach us to trust You, and Your plan to bring life and hope and redemption from what seems like an end. Teach us to trust You more, so that we eagerly await each new thing that You bring, regardless of how it appears. Lead us to love others with the same gentleness and compassion that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to bring new life out of our empty tombs. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Be Not Silent

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had just observed one of the most devastating blows they had ever known. He who had been their hope, was crucified and laid in a tomb. Though they could not do anything to fight on His behalf as second class citizens at the time, they did what they could by remaining present, and then going to prepare spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the day that they were permitted to go, the women went to the tomb. Upon their arrival, they found the stone rolled away, and were spoken to by one in a white robe. His message was full of hope, yet was perhaps more than their hearts could handle after all they had witnessed in the days prior. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. – (Mark 16:8)

 

How often does fear keep us from sharing our story? When Christ comes and rescues us from our sin and shame, we are rescued from the road to ruin, and placed on the path of eternal life. Light enters where darkness once reigned, and peace permeates the places of prior turmoil. Hope is held where hopelessness had held us back…

 

Fortunately, the ladies’ story did not end with their fleeing from the tomb. In fact, they were the first to encounter the risen Lord. When Jesus appeared to them, boldness beheld them, and they went at once to go and tell the disciples what they had seen, just as the angel had directed them to do.

 

Though fear may find us,Be Not Silent

do not let it be;

a roadblock to truth,

for truth need be free.

If we are afraid,

may we choose to seek;

Him who grants us strength,

when we’re feeling weak.

For in our weakness,

is where Christ is strong;

if we allow Him,

be our hope and song.

Do not be silent,

the truth need be known;

speak of your story,

let His hope be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your story is the greatest story ever told, as You came to save all who trust in You. Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You for taking all of our sin and shame, and giving us new life in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and confusion about what we are meant to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will have the courage and strength to boldly go forth in whatever capacity You ask. Lead us to love You and love others with a love that speaks truth and perseveres, just as You faithfully and relentlessly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified Lord God, as we share of all the good things You have done for us. 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

Hearing His Voice

When Mary had gone to the tomb to see the body of her crucified Christ, she was grieved to tears when she found it empty. In fact, she was so distraught that she did not even recognize Jesus standing before her, until Jesus said to her, “Mary.” – (John 20:16) It was only when Mary at last heard His voice, that she realized that the risen Lord was right in front of her in the flesh.

 

As we spend time in prayer, in worship, and in His word, we learn to recognize His voice as well. Knowing which voice belongs to Christ is critical in walking well with Him. When we hear His heart, we listen and obey all that He is asking, rather than wandering off, following our own every whim. May we learn to listen well with our hearts in love, to the Lord’s ever-present leading.

 

Finding the quiet,Asking for Answers

in life’s busyness;

ready to listen,

to Christ, faithfulness.

Grant us ears to hear,

as You call our name;

may we know it’s You,

all truth be proclaimed.

Teach us to follow,

everything You ask;

equip us in strength,

to fulfill each task.

May we recognize,

Your presence, always;

and share the good news,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to die in our place so that we could be made right before You. Thank You that through the restored relationship in Christ, You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that You speak to us, and call us by name. Thank You that when we spend time with You, we grow to recognize Your voice. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in our relationship with You, or for tuning into the noise that distracts us from hearing You clearly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might listen well, and obey all that You say. May many come into a saving relationship with You this sacred season, as we go forth in obedience to all that You ask. Help us to love others as we are loved by You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for Your voice. 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

Sure

“Confident, confident, dry and secure, raise your hand, raise your hand if you’re Sure!”

Why on earth was an eighties jingle going through my head at 4:00 am as I was preparing my coffee? At first, I thought little of it, but then I began to mull it over in my mind. Hmm… God shows me scriptures, gives me pictures, whispers words, sings songs – I guess He can use old advertisements to remind me of His truth as well.

As I sat down to read, Paul’s words leapt off the page in Galatians 2:20-21. These words so clearly resonate as our reason to be confident in Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

My confidence and security, the reason I may raise my hands, for I am sure, is through faith in Christ. This faith grows greater as I am able to receive His glorious gift of grace. He lives in me, and I no longer live to self. In Him, I long to live and love like He loves me.

image from Crista Camps

image from Crista Camps


Great confidence,

the truth secured;

granted in Christ,

our hope assured.

By His great grace,

our faith may grow;

rooted in Him,

the way He’ll show.

Unite as one,

body, believe;

all that we have,

from Him, received.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of hope and assurance. Thank You that we can always trust in You. Thank You that as we place our trust in You, our faith grows. Thank You that all that we have, is a gift given through Your amazing grace. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough, and help our confidence and assurance be complete in knowing that Your bore the cross on our behalf so that we can be with You forever! Lead us to live and love in such a way, that many are moved to receive all that You are offering. Amen.

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

The Saga of that Somber Day

Agony

Withdrawal

Prayer

Disappointment

Prayer

Frustration

Submission

Betrayal

Healing

Denied, denied, denied

Mocked

Beaten

Insulted

Questioned.  Answered.

Accused

Questioned.  Replied.

Justified

Slandered

Sent away

Questioned

Accused

Ridiculed

Robed

Returned

Presented

Exchanged

Sentenced

Surrendered

Burdened

Crucified

Mocked

Defended

Believed

Accepted

Taunted

Forgave

Darkness

Torn

Committed

Received

Finished.

(Responding to Luke 22:47-23:46)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only Son for us.  Jesus, thank You for enduring the excruciating

image by 123rf.com

image by 123rf.com

separation and the weight of the world’s sin, for our sake.  Thank You that the story does not end in darkness and death, but we look forward to Sunday, knowing that You alone defeated death and rose again, so that we might come to know new life.  May we recognize the gravity of this day, yet not lose sight of the joy and hope held in You, our overcoming One.  May many come to know You this week, as so many are willing to walk into church and will hear Your word.  Let Your love, light and hope be heard, held and received.  Amen.

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