The Second Day at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “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.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. – (Matthew 27:62-66, NIV)

That day was the day called Preparation Day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive He said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that He has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about Him before.” Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it. – (Matthew 27:62-66, ERV)

 

The somber silence of Saturday, was really not so silent at all. Behind the scenes, those who had accused, tried and crucified Jesus, were now scrambling to make certain that what He had foretold, would not in any way, appear to be the truth. It is almost comical to imagine the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate as they have their troubled exchanges, as all the while, the disciples are grieving their loss. Stealing the body was likely the furthest thing from their mind. Mary and Martha were waiting to attend to His body, to further treat it properly for burial, but taking His body from the tomb… Eww… What I love most of all about this short passage of scripture, is that Jesus’ accusers took such care to be certain the tomb was guarded and secure from the outside, yet could not control the miracle that was taking place on the inside. Can you imagine the shock and awe that was to come for the soldiers sent to guard the tomb? Soldiers who were to be wary of those who would come near the tomb, would suddenly find themselves face to face with an angel of the Lord, and then the risen Christ himself, less than twenty-four hours later. Jesus was not a liar nor a deceiver. He is the truth, the way and the life. All who choose come to Him, may know love and life everlasting in Him. Though Saturday was somewhat silent, Sunday was on its way!

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us Your goodness, grace and power. Thank You that You demonstrated Your incredible love for us as You willingly went to the cross and died the death that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven and know life in You. Thank You that the grave was not the end. Thank You that hope rises, and that Sunday is coming for all. Forgive us for allowing our sorrows and grief to feel hopeless and helpless in the tomb of our heart. Thank You that You do Your miraculous work from within, so how things appear do not matter in order for You to move. Show us how to love in ways that offer 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 embrace the hope that is ready to rise, each day, because of the third day at the tomb. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

Weathering the Waves

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, NIV)

A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides of the boat, and it was almost full of water. Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with His head on a pillow. The followers went and woke Him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be Still!” Then the wind stopped and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, ERV)

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused Him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to You that we’re going down?” Awake now, He told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. – (Mark 4:37-39, MSG)

 

Though I have both read and heard the passage about Jesus calming the storm numerous times, yesterday’s message by my pastor, brought new revelation that is extraordinarily timely. The disciples were primarily a group of experienced fishermen. They had spent their years and earned their livelihood fishing on this particular body of water, so none of them were new to sudden storms. What stood out about this one was that no longer was it a storm surrounding them, but it was actually bringing water into the boat. Fear entered when the storm on the outside, began impacting the inside. As the waves began to fill the boat, they recognized their desperate need for a Savior. In their state of terror, they questioned Christ’s concern for them, as they feared their own demise. Jesus demonstrated His authority and power as He spoke to the storm, telling the wind and the waves to “Be still!”  We are no different. Often, we neglect to pray about things that are “out there, but when they come close, or affect us directly, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the storm. The beautiful thing is that Jesus will still respond to us in the same way that He did to His disciples. 

1) In the midst of the storm, we need to seek Jesus. 

2) As we do, our prayers have the power to calm the storm. 

3) In the midst of the storm, we need to anchor ourselves to God’s love. 

Jesus has the power to not only calm the storm around us, but He calms the chaos within us as well. Sometimes, they are simultaneous, yet other times we will be brought to a space of His relentless grace, simply to be at peace in knowing that He is in the boat with us. Our boat will not sink when He is aboard. May we hold fast to the Anchor who is our hope, and remember Who is in the boat with us through the storms.

 

When the storm surrounds, wp-15849697395664983915925030867878.jpg

Take pause, choose to pray;

Fend off fearfulness,

Christ shows us the way.

Even when the waves,

Break over our boat;

If God is with us,

He’ll keep us afloat.

It takes but a word,

An act of God’s will;

Peace will be present,

And waters made still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what storms surround us, or even the waves that make way into our boat, You remain with us. Thank You that all power and authority are Yours, and that in You, we have access to be anchored in Your love and calmed in the storm. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the waves crash too close to our own boats. Teach us to come to You in both the calm and in the storm, remembering it is You to whom we need to anchor ourselves to stay afloat. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may find hope and peace and strength to weather the storms that come their way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor ourselves to Your love each day, as You keep us safe and secure through every wave that comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

To Demonstrate Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – (John 13:34, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

wp-15816817937588641311806906910576.jpg

The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Do Away With Distractions to Seek

“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, NIV)

“I want you to know, I will not drink this wine again until that day when I drink it in God’s kingdom and the wine is new.” – (Matthew 14:25, ERV)

“I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, MSG)

 

Jesus spoke these words to the disciples as they were seated and partaking in the last supper, prior to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane and then ultimately, His crucifixion. He knew that it was an evening of lasts, and let the others know, accordingly. When Jesus told them that He would be betrayed by one among them, they seemed to grasp that message in disbelief, yet did not demonstrate a reaction (in writing) to the words Jesus spoke about the timing of His death. It would only be after His death, resurrection and ascension that the significance of Jesus’ statements would really register in the minds and hearts of the disciples. From what I can observe, Jesus did not have anything to eat or drink between the last supper and the crucifixion. Based on the burden that He was choosing to bear, I imagine it was intentional, as Jesus went to the garden to seek time with God, to pray for what was yet to come. We know, according to scripture, that part of what He prayed was for the cup He was meant to carry to be taken from Him if it was possible; yet if not, let it be so. I imagine too, that there were petitions made for strength and help, as Jesus had to endure the weight of the world upon His shoulders. God is faithful, always, and it is difficult to envision the how, when we know what Jesus endured. However, after three days down, He rose again and then ultimately ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. I imagine that the rise and reward for all eternity made the suffering seem but a brief nightmare, in comparison. That being said, it was a burden that not one of us could have carried. In order to carry the weight, we would have had to be without sin. Only Jesus… All that to say, that when the pressure was overwhelming, Jesus set aside physical needs to go and spend time with the Father. Though it was late and had likely been a long day, He cared not about sleep either, as He was intentional to go and pray. Jesus is our ultimate example of what to do. If we have a need, a decision, a challenge, a burden or the like, we ought to set aside our physical desires for a time, so that we may go and pursue the Lord; for our spiritual needs supersede the physical into eternity. May we seek the Lord in all things, for He is our strength and our supply.

 

Set aside the things, The Mirror of the Heart

That get in the way;

For a time to seek,

Intent to choose pray.

The Lord is faithful,

He hears all we ask;

He’ll show us the way,

To wait or take task.

Do not grow weary,

As we ask and wait;

For God’s not early,

And He’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to seek You with our whole hearts. Thank You that You are faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that Your answers come in Your time and not ours. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see immediate answers, when sometimes the wait is part of the healing process. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be persistent in prayer, and set aside the things that distract us from fixing our eyes on You. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside distractions and seek You with our whole heart. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

 

 

Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

Jesus has taught us, img_2019-10-18_04-57-472496001443635161835.jpg

The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Rooted in Discipleship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – (John 15:8, NIV)

Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father. – (John 15:8, ERV)

Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. – (John 15:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, our pastor continued in a series that is unpacking our foundational beliefs. The focus this week, was on discipleship. Pastor Omar opened with the question, “Is being a disciple of Jesus about what we do or who we are?” As he continued, it became clear that who we are as a disciple, permeates into everything we do. However, it is less about “what” we do specifically, and instead, whether or not we bear fruit; the fruit being that of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The fruit found in our lives, is what demonstrates discipleship to the world. He went on to talk about what it takes to actually bear fruit; for a seed planted will not grow if it is not set in good soil, nourished and cared for properly. Soil that is rich in what is right and intended for our good growth exists when we are planted in the Presence of God, the Word of God, and the Family of God. Each of these three are necessary to grow our faith and spur one another on into all that we have been called to become. May we ever be intentional to invest in the soil of our lives, so that we may be bearers of the fruit of God.

 

It is to God’s glory, Rooted in What is Real

When we bear much fruit;

It shares of His story,

His grace, resolute.

Choose to plant in good soil,

Enriched with the things;

That grow and establish,

Deep roots and strong wings.

Roots grown in God’s presence,

With time in His Word;

And wings to keep flying,

Surrounded and heard.

Our peace, patience, kindness,

And gentleness too;

Love and faithfulness,

Show growth that is true.

A life with self-control,

Too, tells the story;

Of a most faithful God,

And brings Him glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire for each of us to be Your disciples – not by what we do, but rather in who we are. Thank You that You show us what it is to grow and invest in good soil so that we may establish deep roots in You and bear much fruit. Forgive us for the times that our fruit has been bruised or rotten, as we allowed our own egos or agendas to get in the way of what You were doing in or through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are intentional to invest time in Your presence, Your Word, and in the community to which You have called us. Show us how to love well and bear fruit that lasts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to follow You as life-long learners. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

To Love and To Serve

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. – (John 13:14-15, NIV)

I am your Lord and Teacher. But I washed your feet. So you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example for you. So you should serve each other just as I served you. – (John 13:14-15, ERV)

So if your Lord and Teacher washes your feet, then you should wash one another’s feet. I am your example; keep doing what I do. – (John 13:14-15, VOICE)

 

At the time that this particular text was written, washing a person’s feet was a filthy and degrading practice. People traveled by sandaled foot, across dry and dusty terrain. I imagine that by the day’s end, feet were about as filthy as they could get, and washing people’s feet as they returned home was not a coveted position. However, Jesus demonstrated what it is to love and serve one another, as He stooped down and washed the feet of His disciples. His willingness to get into the mess with them and help get them clean, was the perfect example of servant leadership. We are not called to lead nor teach from a position above anyone else; rather, we are called to walk beside others, helping out where things are messy, so that each individual can bring their best foot forward. As an educator, this is a timely reminder. How do I care for my students best, so that they are served and loved in a way that readies them to be led forward to becoming their best selves? May we each go forth in pursuit of ways to “wash the feet” of those around us, so that we may love and serve others, in the same way that we have been loved and cleansed by God.

 

After speaking with mom late yesterday afternoon, the biggest prayer is that her in-home therapies get going. Yesterday was a bit of a rest day, as she hadn’t really felt like doing much of anything. The day prior she had done a significant amount of walking, so I encouraged her that everyone needs an occasional rest day. My brother-in-love and nephew had just returned home from a short get-away, so the conversation was brief, and mom was eager to hear about their adventures. I am blown away by the kindness extended to me by my colleagues who are familial-like friends, as so many have checked in and inquired about mom. Several are praying and extending well-wishes, as they have been since the beginning.

 

With eyes open wide,Ambassadors of Love

It’s not hard to see;

Places to reach out,

Lend hand, meet a need.

We are created,

To love and to serve;

As Jesus loves us,

Not as is deserved.

Lord, help us to love,

Do so, tangibly;

So people feel known,

And hearts are set free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love and serve one another. Thank You that You call us to come alongside one another and get in the trenches beside each other. Thank You that You equip and strengthen us for all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have been unwilling to serve in spaces where we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have a heart like Yours. Show us how to love people with a servant’s heart, that is willing to step into the muck and help clear a way out. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us, in the way we are called to love. Amen.

 

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

 

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – Galatians 5:13

Forward without Fear

But He said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. – (John 6:20-21, NIV)

But He said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s Me.” When He said this, they were glad to take Him into the boat. And then the boat reached the shore at the place they wanted to go. – (John 6:20-21, ERV)

Jesus (to the disciples): I am the One. Don’t be afraid. They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel; and when He stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they were ashore at their destination. – (John 6:20-21, VOICE)

 

Seriously? Why have I never caught the significance in this passage prior to this morning? Perhaps that is why this whole journey for me is called Revelations in Writing… I guess He shows me what I need to know, when I need to know it most.

Anyway, my giant aha this morning is that in the verses prior to the ones listed above, John (the Apostle), mentions that the disciples were three or four miles out from shore, in a storm. Previously, what had stood out to me, was that Jesus calmed the storm when He stepped into the boat; however, it goes far beyond the sudden stillness. Jesus miraculously moved them from three or four miles out in the middle of the tumultuous lake, to the specific spot on the shore that they had intended to go. For me, this is a tremendous reminder of God’s power to move us miraculously in His timing. Jesus was well aware of where the disciples were rowing on the lake; He knew where they were headed and where they needed to go. In the same way, Jesus knows exactly where my mom is heading next from her current acute care facility; He sees and is fully aware of the work she is doing to propel herself to the next step, and He is with her and able to move her however He sees best, according to His miraculous timing. What He does between now and her projected transition to home date is in His hands. He sees and He knows her needs. The same greeting of “Don’t be afraid”, resonates today, as He is with us, every step of the way.

Mom is gaining new strength and confidence every day, as the “awakening” of her muscles continues. She is still waiting, desperately for it to work its way down to her hand and foot, but her perseverance and commitment to the challenging work is inspiring and full of hope. May we ever rely on the same God who can meet us stranded at sea in the midst of a storm, and in an instant, move us to the safety of the shore.

 

No matter the space,quiet-hope-e1516279596955.jpg

You find yourself in;

Jesus is nearby,

He knows where and when.

The very same God,

Who calmed stormy seas;

Can take us ashore,

Bring peace within me.

God sees all our needs,

And hears ev’ry prayer;

He’s faithful always,

Present to show care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Yourself to us in new ways through Your word, when we need it most. Thank You that when You walked on water in the midst of a storm, You not only calmed the storm, but You took the disciples from the middle of a space that was far from the safety of the shore, and instantly moved them to the place that they were headed. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust beyond what our eyes can see and our hearts can understand. God, we are trusting and believing for the miraculous. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that we are ever aware of the miracles that are made new every morning that we rise and draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk by faith and not by sight, for You are a faithful and loving God forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

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