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

Sharing Hope

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. – (1 Peter 3:15, ERV)

But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat Him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be read to explain your faith with gentleness and respect. – (1 Peter 3:15, TPT)

 

To revere is to view with respect and awe. How often do we truly look at Christ through the proper lens? God is love, hope, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness and self-control for all who call on His Name. The hope we hold is not due in part to anything that we have done, but rather as a result of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He died so that we might live. Few would willingly lay down their life for another, (and typically only for someone whom they dearly love) yet Christ died for us, while we were still sinners. Jesus loved us, even when we knew nothing of His love to return. It is the unconditional love of Christ that grants us hope, not only for today, but for all of eternity. Our story, our own experiences of discovering the hope that is found in Christ, is the most gentle and respectful way to share what we have found with those around us who ask. May we ever maintain a posture of reverence for the Lord, and be ready to tell of His faithfulness and the hope that is ever held in Him.

 

With honor and awe, Sharing Hope

Let’s look to the Lord;

Our hope Provider,

The One we adore.

The hope that we hold,

Dwells deep from within;

As we’ve discovered,

Love time and again.

It is by God’s love,

We come to know grace;

That grants us all hope,

Eternal embrace.

Let’s ever recall,

How we came to know;

Hope that’s forever,

So His grace we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all hope is found forever in You. Thank You that You ask us to partner with You to share what we know with those who are seeking. Forgive us for not maintaining a proper perspective of You, or for neglecting to share the hope we know with those around us. Be glorified O God, as we remember with awe and reverence, the hope that You placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Comfort for the Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)  

 

This morning, I woke to discover the devastating news of another former student’s passing. His sweet mama posted the news on Facebook, likely as a quick way to communicate, without having to retell the heartbreak time and time again. When the seeming natural order of life is disrupted, and a parent outlives their child, the heartache over what should have been can steal all hope, if comfort is not sought through Him alone, who is our Comforter. Sadly, I have seen both sides of this sorrow as it has run its course in the lives of people near me. For some, comfort came as they pursued God and were not afraid to ask “WHY?!” For others, something within them died at the loss, as they seem to be stuck in a space where they cannot be comforted and restored. Though there is nothing nor anyone that can ever take the place of a loved one lost, God can heal the hole that is left in our heart over time. He turns the grief into grace, and utilizes it to comfort others in a way that only one who has walked such a road, can do. May peace and grace be poured out upon the mourning, as God is our Comfort and ready to embrace every hurting heart. 

 

In the midst of grief, Compassion in Confrontations

May we seek the Lord; 

True Source of comfort, 

All peace He affords. 

Present in heartache, 

Faithful, He won’t leave; 

He’ll love us to life, 

Grant hope to believe. 

Allow His embrace, 

Bring comfort and peace; 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Yield sorrow’s release. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who mourn with Your comfort. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source. Teach us to turn to You in our every need, and to offer Your comfort and peace to those around us. Show us how to be Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting by loving people through their sorrow and loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our comfort in mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

 

 

Rediscovering Dreams

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. – (Psalm 37:34a, NLT)

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NLT)

 

For the past few months, there is a part of me that has been stirring and not able to settle at rest. Though I would pray, and look for answers, I could not figure out what I was meant to do next. A little over a week ago, I had an exchange with someone that at first, felt offensive. Perhaps it was, but really, it matters not, as God used it to propel my heart in a direction that I would never have explored, if not for that brief conversation. What was discovered as a result of the consequential agitation, was a dream that had all but died. Possibility presented itself before me, and I am now pursuing something that I never thought obtainable. Whether it comes to fruition or not, the excitement of imagining and hoping is enough to remind me that God has more than what I see. He is reminding me that He has wired me with gifts and talents, dreams and desires, that He longs to honor just as much as I hold hope to use them for His glory. May we rise up and remember that God has handcrafted each of us with gifts and talents, plans and purpose, and what we see now is not all that there is. Let us hold fast to the hope we have in Him, and be willing to take steps of faith forward as He leads.

 

Be not discouraged,Rediscovering Dreams

By all that you see;

Often there’s movement,

Waiting within reach.

For what seems unkind,

Horrible, unfair;

Could be the movement,

That leads us from there.

Remember to hope,

Not in what is seen;

But rather in God,

Who as we trust, leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope who leads us where we are meant to go. Thank You that despite what we see, You have so much more for each of us. Thank You that You take the seemingly horrible things and use them to propel us in the direction that You intend for us to move. Thank You that You have good things for Your children. Forgive us for our lack of hope and for allowing our dreams to die or lie dormant. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and pursue the path You place before us to utilize the very things that You have created within us to share with those around us. Show us how to love well, everyone whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You and travel along the path You place before us. Amen.

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

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

A Tangible Display

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display – the Anointed One died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, VOICE)

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. – (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)

 

As we draw ever nearer to Easter, it is good to set our sights on what this season is all about. Each time I take pause and read anything related to what Christ came and did for me, I am in awe of the greatness of His goodness and His grace. Who willingly lays down their life to save another, when the very one being saved is against them? Before we knew Christ, He loved us. Prior to making a choice to invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He laid His down for us. While we were yet sinners, He came and bore the weight of all of our sin and shame so that we could be forgiven and free, and have life everlasting in Him. There is no greater love than He who willingly gave everything so that we could be made right before God and have eternal life. May the power of Christ’s life-raising love fill our hearts and minds, and lead us as we consider the weight of this wonderful week.

 

Stuck in the darkness,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Still shrouded in sin;

Christ came and He gave,

Love made the way in.

Though few might choose die,

For those who are good;

Only Christ the Lord,

In our place, He stood.

He bore such a weight,

Sin and shame of all;

So we could be free,

And on His Name call.

What powerful love,

Such wonder He is;

The truth and the life,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, while we were still sinners, far from You, to give His life for ours. Forgive us for not recognizing the weight of what You did for us so that we could have life everlasting in You. Help us to grasp the magnitude of Your mercy and the greatness of Your grace as we walk out this week leading to Easter. Show us how to love those around us with the very same mercy and grace that we have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You have freely given, and go forth in freedom to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

Deep Wells from Shallow Graves

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – (John 4:13-14, NIV)

 

When we are dry and thirsty, nothing satisfies our soul but Jesus. In the places where we have died or suffered loss, the Lord’s light and life can come and bring healing and hope that can quench not only our own thirst, but that of those around us.

God takes our shallow graves and turns them into deep wells.

The things that have only just died and are barely buried, are the very things that God will take, if we are willing, and turn them into deep wells.  These are the places where He brings beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. The losses we have suffered are the very spaces where He graces us with His great strength so that others might drink deeply from the hope that is held so clearly in a place that was once buried in darkness. New light and life shine forth to illuminate the way to His deep well, birthed within us.

 

Where hope was once lost,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

Or love scorned and gone;

Lying in ruins,

How can one press on?

Barren in ashes,

Such desolate space;

Nothing left to give,

Desperate for grace.

Yet when we look up,

Our ash at His feet;

Beauty and wisdom,

By His grace, we meet.

The ugliest grave,

Often can become;

The deepest of wells,

For His chosen ones.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us beauty for ashes and hope for despair. Thank You that You are the well that waters our soul so that we are not left dry and thirsty, but rather as we drink deeply of Your word, You spring forth within us, living water that is a deep well to extend to others. Forgive us for our withdrawal when we feel dry and thirsty. Help us to ever seek You, our endless Source of living water, as You refresh and renew our strength and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to depend on You to allow You to take our shallow graves and grow deep wells of living water from where they once lay. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and grace available in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your vessels that continually pour out of the abundance of hope that we have found. 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

Christ in Christmas

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

 

This is the night where the world takes pause to remember the most sacred occasion where heaven came to earth in the form of a baby boy. Born in a stable, not fit for the Savior of the world, yet God gave incredible assurance that this was indeed the way Mary and Joseph were meant to walk as they brought this blessed bundle forth in a stable surrounded by animals. Angelic visitations had announced that He would be born, heavenly hosts proclaimed His arrival – flooding the night sky over the heads of shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, and a bright star shone on His behalf to lead the way for those who were meant to find Him. Though not necessarily the beginning we might envision for the One who saves the world from sin and shame, Jesus’ arrival changed everything. Because He came, grew, walked in obedience, willingly laid down His life in our place, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father, we have way to be restored to right relationship with God. May we stop the activity on this day long enough to really recognize the significance of this most holy night that we celebrate. Jesus is the gift, and the reason we can give. Our Counselor, our God, our Father, and our Peace – these are the reasons we have light and life and love. Joy to the world, the Savior has come!

 

For a child was born,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

A Son was given;

The weight of the world,

He has forgiven.

The great Counselor,

Most mighty our God;

The Father who lasts,

Let our hearts applaud.

For He is our peace,

Born so we might live;

May we honor Him,

Through gifts that we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your only Son into the world so that we might be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You love us so much that You willingly laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for not having our priorities in place and for forgetting the real reason for this most sacred season. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that all that we do is a reflection of You. Show us how to love and give as You do, so that our words and deeds are Your heart being made known to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as so many take the time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. Let Christ be lifted high this Christmas. 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

Love that Will Not Fail

For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are – high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean – nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us. – (Romans 8:38-39, TLB)

 

There is much reassurance in this passage. No matter what twists and turns our life takes us on, Christ will be present and His love shall remain. When curve balls come our way, it is easy to allow worry to enter in. Even in our space of angst, Christ is near. His love leads us out of our darkness, and into His light, where we can regain a proper perspective – recognizing that He is far greater than anything that comes against us. As we establish our hope in He who is eternal, we begin to realize the significance that our hope truly holds. Though there will be struggles – highs and lows, peaks and valleys – that we must walk through – He will be present, and what awaits us at the end of our journey is far greater than any difficulty that we encounter along the way. May we hold fast to the truth of who God is, and how unfailing and eternal His love is for all who call on His Name.

 

To where can we go,Enter With Thanksgiving

where love cannot find?

No depth is too deep,

nor mountain too high.

Wherever we are,

God will be there too;

His love shall remain,

to light the way through.

No force that may try,

to come against us;

compares to the strength,

found in Christ Jesus.

Nothing on the earth,

above or below;

compares to the love,

that in Christ we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that no matter where we go, or what comes against us, You remain with us, loving us through. Forgive us for forgetting how very faithful and powerful Your love is, and help us to depend on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to turn in trust, even when it feels as if our world is caving in on us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see Your strength and hope through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing, eternal love. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Seek His Spirit to Stand

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. – (Galatians 5:16, NIV)

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. – (Galatians 5:16, NLT)

I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. – (Galatians 5:16, CEB)

 

Without the Holy Spirit in us, we do that which we know we ought not do. Our very nature desires to do the things that are in direct conflict of those to which we have been called. Thankfully, Christ came and died for us to take away the sin and shame of our failures of the flesh. More than that, He sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who choose call on His Name to lead and guide us in the way in which we are meant to go. By His Spirit, we can keep from giving in to the desires of the flesh and instead bring honor to Christ through the choices we make with how we conduct ourselves. May we each choose to walk by His Spirit, therefore keeping ourselves away from the selfish desires our flesh longs for, and instead rise up and honor Him in all that we say and do.

 

Within each of us,Refreshment Through Repentance

a battle goes on;

a pull to choose sin,

to walk in the wrong.

Yet by Christ’s Spirit,

we have strength and guide;

to know what is right,

how we’re to abide.

He shows us what’s right,

and grants His power;

to choose right by Him,

no matter the hour.

So seek first the Lord,

and look to His face;

He’ll grant what’s needed,

to walk in His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit to guide our lives so that we are able to withstand the cravings of our sinful nature. Thank You that You lead us and guide us as we choose to trust and rely on You. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to come before You in all things and at all times, so that we may know Your guidance for every decision that we make. Lead us to love others as You so unreservedly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to the voice of Your Spirit within us to overcome temptation and walk in the way in which we are called. 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

Seen and Known

When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12)

A woman who had been crippled for eighteen years, to the point where she could not straighten up at all, happened to be in one of the synagogues on a Sabbath when Jesus was teaching. Jesus, in His love and compassion, saw the woman’s need, and called to her personally, and spoke aloud words of healing, wholeness and new life, right then and there. I imagine a woman who was never able to truly make eye contact with anyone because of her condition, yet here she was, called forward, by the Savior on the Sabbath. Did hope that had all but died at last rise up again as she made her way to the front? I envision that may have been the case, for her response to being healed was to “…immediately straighten up and praise God.” (vs. 13)

Jesus sees us in the same way. He knows our needs before we ask, and loves us so much, that He exchanged His life for ours. I wonder if the woman wrestled with the question of whether or not she should go forward where Jesus called? For many of us, that is the very thing that stands between us and that which Jesus is waiting to do in us or through us. We have to be willing to step forward where we are called, even in the moments of uncertainty. His plans for us are far greater than we could ever hope or imagine, so it is worth walking forward in obedience to where we are called. May we move when He says move, and stand tall and give Him praise both now and forevermore.

Bent over and bound,Truth that is Tangible

we all have been there;

weighed down by the weight,

of all of life’s cares.

Each with hidden needs,

known well by the Lord;

Who’s willing to heal,

all grace He’ll afford.

It takes open ears,

a heart to respond;

as He calls our name,

His love goes beyond.

Beyond what we lack,

to our place of need;

in Him we are healed,

from burdens, we’re freed.

All glory to God,

Who sits on the throne;

He sets people free,

from bondage they’ve known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are, and know our every need. Thank You that we matter to You. Thank You that You call to us to come before You, so that You can heal us where we need it most. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for not willingly walking forward when You call us to come. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the giver of good gifts. Lead us to love others with the same kindness and compassion that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we willingly walk forward where You call, and give You praise all the while. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1