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

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

The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

All Praise is Due

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, NIV) 

Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help His people and has given them freedom. He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of his servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, ERV) 

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. And the Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David. – (Luke 1:68-69, VOICE) 

 

These verses are a portion of Zechariah’s song, which are sung in a praise-filled celebration of sorts, following the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). As a faithful follower of God, Zechariah understood the significance of all that was taking place, as it had long before been foretold. The birth of his son was the prelude to the coming of Christ, the long-awaited Redeemer and Savior. Zechariah’s stretch of silence, after his holy visitation that left him mute, ended with the faithful obedience of writing down the name he was told to give his son. The first thing he did with his reopened lips was give glory and honor to God for His faithfulness. May we each embrace the incomprehensible grace that came to us through a virgin birth, and praise the Lord for being faithful to fulfill His promises forever. 

 

All praise to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

For all praise is due; 

For what He promised, 

Was provided true. 

A Savior to come, 

The Light for mankind; 

Entered a baby, 

Yet fully divine. 

The hope of the world, 

Had come down to earth; 

To set captives free, 

And grant us rebirth. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You for those who set the example of recognizing who You are and how You love. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same God who set aside His throne to be God-with-us, still dwells within the hearts of those who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You for all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for Your faithfulness, and conveys Your heart and character to all those with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wonderful things that You have done to extend Your grace and send us Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

img_2018-12-16_07-22-314214295878380063031.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

Appropriated Praise

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV) 

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV) 

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG) 

 

This tends to feel like an extraordinarily long week, as we all adjust to being back at work and school after having had a several-day stretch of a break. Between the cold, dark, drizzly days to the extra meetings that have taken place, or the pursuit of personal fitness goals that have increased my running mileage, by the end of each day, I have found myself thoroughly exhausted. Through it all, God deserves my gratitude. Because of His faithfulness, I am gainfully employed, working at a job that I have loved for more than twenty years. His grace grants us seasons that nourish the earth, and make us appreciate warmer weather all the more. Finally, His goodness has granted me a body that is strong and healthy and able to work harder and be pushed farther to attain new milestones in my own personal pursuit of wellness. May we ever thank God for His goodness and love, as His faithfulness lasts forever and He is worthy of all of our praise. 

 

Give thanks to the Lord, fb_img_15434953364791225849349188341322.jpg

When all’s going well; 

And still give Him thanks, 

When things aren’t so swell. 

Even in darkness, 

God’s love light does shine; 

It is up to us, 

Allow Him headline. 

All praise to the Lord, 

For all of our days; 

His hope, grace and help, 

Love that lights our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love for us, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that Your love lasts forever. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when we are weary of all that weighs us down. Teach us to give You praise, no matter how we feel, as You are the reason we have life and breath and hope, both now and forever. Show us how to love those around us practically, so that Your goodness, faithfulness and love are made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

Thankful for the Stable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So, we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

 

No matter what happens in the here and now, we have the blessed assurance of a future that is unshakable in Christ. This hope that we hold gives us reason to worship God with awe and reverence, as He is greater than anything that we face and He has promised to be present. Gratitude and worship remind us of His presence now, and of the future secure forever with Him. May we worship God with hearts full of thanks, with reverence and awe, ever setting our hope in Him and the future that He has for us.

 

With hearts full of thanks, Thankful for the Stable

In reverent fear;

Give praise to the Lord,

As His hope draws near.

Near to the seeking,

Who pour out their praise;

Hope for the future,

To hold all our days.

Let us choose worship,

The Lord God above;

Our hope forever,

Who holds us with love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Thank You that You are our hope secure. Forgive us for our lack of reverence and awe at the magnitude of Your majesty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worship You and give You praise for all of our days, as You are our hope and promise secure. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes hope and love tangible, where it was not before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our worship and praise, with reverent awe, as You are our hope both now and forever. Amen.

 

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

 

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Peace and Thanksgiving

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to be peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG)

 

As we gather together with family and friends to celebrate our reasons to give thanks, may the peace of Christ be present to lead us and guide us. When we allow Christ to rule in our hearts, the motivation behind our words and deeds is love. Love is patient and love is kind, and such things are proponents of peace. Each time we encounter a gathering where love reigns, gratitude and grace grow greater than any insignificant irritant. May we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and lead us as we gather together, giving thanks to Him for all that He has done to provide the people present among us.

 

May His peace prevail, img_2018-11-22_06-23-588320532747532005523.jpg

Wherever we are;

For it is a space,

Of Love’s reservoir.

Where His peace is known,

So too, is His grace;

Love freely given,

Fills hearts full of praise.

Go forth and gather,

In His grace and peace;

With hearts full of thanks,

May blessings increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace will rule in our heart as we seek and rely on You. Thank You that Your grace covers our lack. Thank You for the gift of family and friends with whom we are blessed with time to gather. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected Your leading and disrupted the peace You intended, or have not given You thanks for all that You are and all that You do in our lives. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in peace and to have a thankful heart. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may promote peace and gratitude through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to rule our hearts and give all of our gratitude to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:11

Grow Roots of Gratitude

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:7, ERV)

Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, VOICE)

 

As we depend on Christ and draw life and strength from Him, our roots grow deep and our foundation, strong. Consequently, the deeper our understanding, the more our heart begins to overflow with gratitude. This week marks the kickoff of the whirlwind that is the holiday season. Life tends to become extraordinarily busy with the bonus activities and added gatherings the season supplies. If we stand strong in our faith, just as we were taught, our hearts cannot help but overflow with thankfulness. May we press into our Provider and allow our roots to grow deep down into Him, so that we draw life and strength from the true Source and overflow with thankfulness at His abundant provision of all that we need and more.

 

For in Christ alone, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Our roots shall grow deep;

Safe, strong and secure,

Our hearts His grace keeps.

As we learn and grow,

His love will abound;

Reason to give thanks,

His leading is sound.

With hearts full of praise,

Give thanks forever;

For God is faithful,

Beyond all measure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we grow our roots in You, You build a firm foundation within us. Thank You that as we grow strong in our faith, our heart begins to overflow with thankfulness for You and all that You have done. Forgive us for not pursuing growth in You, or for neglecting to give thanks for all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our Strength and Supply and give You praise in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes gratitude contagious. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all that You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Our Words Are Heard

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

The Anointed One did not enter into handcrafted sacred spaces – imperfect copies of heavenly originals – but into heaven itself, where He stands in the presence of God on our behalf. – (Hebrews 9:24, VOICE)

When we pray, be it a praise, a petition, a confession or a cry for help, our words make way to the very throne room of God. Because Jesus came and made way for us once and for all, we can approach His throne of grace, knowing that He hears and is moving on our behalf. I am so thankful that there is no go-between, nor series of rituals or requirements necessary to come to Christ whenever we need. So often I find myself offering up a quick prayer, unaware of the power and majesty present in the gift of grace to freely speak to the Creator of the Universe with the closeness of a loving father and faithful friend. May we appreciate in awe, the blessed gift granted through Christ, that endows unto us the opportunity to come before God for help, knowing that Christ is for us, moving on our behalf.

 

We need not worry,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The way has been made;

Free to approach God,

The price has been paid.

Christ went before us,

And sees us with love;

So now without fear,

We seek God above.

Let us not forget,

This grace we have found;

All thanks be to God,

Who makes love abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to approach Your throne of grace. Thank You that You hear every word uttered, both in our hearts and with our voices. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our need, or have neglected to give You gratitude for Your unending faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and give You thanks for all that You have done, are doing, and shall do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know of Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17