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

My Sons, This I Pray

My son(s), if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – (Proverbs 2:1-11, NIV)

 

It is difficult to believe that today, sixteen years ago, my life was forever changed for the better. Thoug0119180406679500301.jpgh I knew what it was to love and be loved, I could not fully grasp the human heart’s capacity to love, cherish and protect, until my precious baby boys were born. There has been no greater joy than to watch them grow into the young men that they are becoming. Today’s reading is quite timely, as it is my prayer for them, as they continue to grow in faith and pursue wisdom and walk in His ways. The older this delightful duo becomes, the more I have to let go and trust them to follow and seek and choose wisely. May we all continue the pursuit of understanding the Lord and seeking His wisdom, and may His protection be ever present as we pursue the path He places before us.

 

 

My sons, this I pray, 12141718251901389040.jpg

That you seek to know;

The wisdom of God,

Each day, may it grow.

For where you choose seek,

And ask of the Lord;

He will grant insight,

You’ll not be ignored.

He’s always faithful,

As we trust each day;

Seek Him for answers,

He’ll show you the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my precious progeny. Not only was I blessed with one son, but with two! Thank You for the tender hearts and loving ways that You have instilled in each of them. May they ever pursue the path that You have placed before them. Protect them each and every moment of every day, I pray. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom and understanding, as You are always faithful to answer when we seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would understand what is just and fair, and follow Your good path. Lead us to love those around us in a way that shines Your light in dark places. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom and understanding all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Justice and Faithfulness

He guards the path of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. – (Proverbs 2:8, NLT)

God protects the paths of those who pursue justice, watching over the lives of those who keep faith with Him. – (Proverbs 2:8, VOICE)

 

As a self-professed “word nerd“, I wanted a bit more context to the word just. According to dictionary.com, just means being guided by truth. For me, this made far more sense, for if we are faithful to God, we will be guided by truth. When we seek Him and His will, He leads, guides and guards us as we go. May we pursue justice in faithful pursuit of God, and allow the Lord to lead as He protects the path on which He calls us to proceed.

 

God protects the path,I Will Go

of those who pursue;

a life lived justly,

as we’re called to do.

He will watch over,

the faithful and true;

those who keep seeking,

to see the Lord’s view.

His heart is for us,

His love never ends;

faithful forever,

for us He contends.

Blessings are poured out,

as we persevere;

hope for forever,

and knowing He’s near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You guard the path of those who faithfully seek You and are guided by Your truth. Thank You that You watch over our lives and protect us as we go. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness. Teach us to persevere, even when things are difficult or seemingly without hope, for our hope is found in You. Show us how to love others as we are guided by truth, so that they too, might see Your love and faithfulness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue justice and remain faithful to You. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

My Strength and Shield

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him. – (Psalm 28:7, NIV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises up as song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

 

When we slow down and give way to trust – that space where we truly rest in Him – this is the place where we recognize His grace, and how He has strengthened and protected us through the storms. As we recognize who He is and all that He has done, gratitude rises up, and joy goes forth from our hearts in song. Sometimes our song is spoken, sometimes it is through service, and still other times it is with voices raised, we join the heavenly choir in singing out about the greatness and faithfulness of our glorious God. May our hearts leap for joy as we recognize that the Lord is indeed our source of strength and our shield, and choose to let songs of gratitude rise up and go forth from our entire being.

 

My strength and my shield,Who Wants to Fight

I’ll trust in You, Lord;

for You are my help,

Your grace is outpoured.

My heart leaps for joy,

for all that You are;

I sing songs of praise,

O bright Morning Star.

So much gratitude,

that I can’t contain;

the hope that I have,

in knowing Your Name.

Teach me to choose rest,

and trust in Your grace;

it‘s where I am safe,

Your tender embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my strength and my shield. Thank You that I can trust in You to be my help. Thank You that it is in that space of where I settle in and rest in You, and truly trust, that You help me and comfort me with Your love. Thank You that my heart knows great joy and cannot help but sing praise for who You are and all that You do. Forgive me for not slowing down to give You the reigns when things seem crazy. Teach me to trust You more, so that in all things and at all times, I will give all to You – as everything is better in Your hands. Show me how to love others so that they may see a heart of gratitude unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You are my strength and shield, and I trust You to be my help, and ever sing songs of praise to You. 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

Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15