Hope Rises

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 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 where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, NIV)

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, MSG)

 

The more I dig into the scriptures to unpack the details of Holy Week, the more I notice things that either have escaped me previously, or that I had somehow forgotten over time. This morning, after reading about Jesus’ resurrection in all four gospels, I had a moment of “Wow, how did I miss that before?”  In Mark, Luke, and John’s telling of the resurrection, the accounts each begin AFTER the stone had been rolled away. So, what does this matter, you ask? For me, this added to the already miraculous resurrection, as Jesus had risen and left the tomb BEFORE the stone was rolled away. In the same way that He “appeared” in the locked room where the disciples were meeting after all of this had taken place, Jesus had “disappeared” from the tomb, only to “appear” before Mary in the garden by the tomb. Next, Jesus “appeared” to the two disciples along the road to Emmaus, then among the disciples gathered in the locked room, and later at the Sea of Galilee, where He reinstated Peter, as well as in a variety of other places and spaces to teach and equip His followers before He ascended into Heaven. (Read John 20:11-21:25 for specifics) For me, this is a reminder of the incredible power of Christ. We, in our frail humanity, cannot begin to fathom the power held in the hands of our Creator. The very same God who created heaven and earth, bore the sin of the world to redeem all humanity, and then rose from three days dead. Beyond that, He lived and loved and touched and equipped those around Him further, before He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is ever moving on our behalf. It is no wonder they say that “Hope Rises.”  It does indeed. Christ rose. The sun rises each new day. As the weight of fear, suffering, sin and sorrow are laid at His feet, we are empowered and strengthened to rise. I wonder if that is why God created day and night the way that He did. Each morning as the sun rises, we have the opportunity to be reminded that the Son rose for us; new hope, new help, every single day. May we embrace the truth that HE HAS RISEN, and allow hope to rise in all of us on this glorious Easter morning. Let the world rejoice, for hope has risen, HE is alive!

 

 

Imagine the tomb, Statements of Praise

Cold, lifeless and still;

Guarded, protected,

O God, what’s Your will?

All of a sudden,

The earth starts to shake;

Terrifying light,

Moves the stone away.

From atop the stone,

A voice then declares;

“Do not be afraid,

He’s no longer there.”

Guards frozen in fear,

Ladies look in awe;

Just grave clothes remain,

This scene that they saw.

What He had promised,

Had now come to pass;

Jesus had risen,

Our hope that shall last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live and love, to die and rise again, so that we might know the hope that is found in You alone. Thank You that today is a day to remember how powerfully hope rises, as You rose up out of the grave and defeated death for our sake. Forgive us for forgetting the power held in hope that rises, for You have the power to resurrect anything. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope, strength, light and life. Show us how to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look into the empty tomb and see that the Son has risen for us anew, so that we may know hope in You. 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

 

*If you need an Easter service to join, please join me at Grace Church, 10am, PST. ❤

The God of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

God’s hope fills us with joy and peace, and empowers us to trust in Him. As our trust grows, hope flows from us, and becomes a beacon in our lives. This process is ongoing, and there is always room to grow. Though I trust God, I certainly find myself in moments where I lose sight of His peace and have to take pause to remember what matters eternally. Yesterday at school, this was my reality for a few minutes. Just as my students had left my classroom and I was beginning to settle in and make preparations during my planning period, one of my colleagues entered my room and handed me a sub folder for a class. I took pause, in frustration asked, “Are you kidding me, right now?” And then proceeded to process the fact that I was losing my planning with no notification. At first, I was completely stressed about how I would get everything done, but then stopped and settled into trust, recognizing that I could utilize my lunchtime to do the planning I still needed to do. Peace arrived, the moment I slowed down and chose trust. The lack of notice was an oversight on the part of very busy, lovely humans, and grace is the only thing warranted in such circumstances. All worked out and the planning required was completed, reminding me, yet again to trust and keep my hope in He who gives me strength. May we ever hope in God, our ever-trustworthy place of peace.

Mom is continuing to push along on her road to recovery. Yesterday, my brother-in-love posted the best photo of my sister and mom that I have seen in a long while. Mom was actually at the island helping Megan prepare dinner! This is huge for so many reasons; mom standing and balancing, engaging in what she used to love to do, and recognizing that she is able to do exceedingly more than she may have thought possible. My prayer is that His peace would continue to flood their home as trust and hope grow greater still.

 

May the God of hope, fb_img_15711398132665000935021918141.jpg

Fill you with all joy;

May peace be present,

As hope is employed.

May His hope rise up,

Flood each heart and mind;

To overflowing,

As God’s love is kind.

Let God empower,

Your mind and your heart;

Hope overflowing,

Where peace and joy start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace and joy that come and fill us with all hope as we trust in You. Thank You that hope rises and overflows. Forgive us for the times that we take our eyes off of You and lose sight of where trust belongs. Teach us the power found in trusting You, so that we would not waiver in our faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your peace and joy, where by hope overflows where it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and hold fast to the hope we know in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Hope That Will Not Fail

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

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

 

Coming before God in the quiet stillness of each morning, with the intention to hear His heart, is part of my daily practice. However, to truly wait quietly before Him in absolute stillness for as long as it takes, is not something I am accustomed to nor good at doing. In some things, I am extraordinarily patient, and can wait for a very long time. Yet, when my mobility and activity level are compromised, I still struggle to wait for healing to come quickly enough for my liking. He is good and faithful and has never failed me. I know I can trust in Him to walk beside me in the waiting, and to be my hope and my help. As I look back upon His faithfulness to hold me in His hands thus far, I cannot help but look forward with hope, knowing that He will continue to be present as He mends my body and utilizes this struggle for good somehow. May we ever wait quietly before God in silent stillness, as long as it takes, knowing that He is faithful and will not fail us.

 

Let all that I am, All Together for Good

Calm down and choose turn;

My eyes to the Lord,

As it’s how hope’s learned.

In quiet stillness,

As I hope in Him;

He is my rescue,

Grants peace from within.

No matter the storm,

Nor trial we face;

God will be faithful,

In goodness and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we slow down and wait in silent stillness before You, we recognize Your rescue and hope rises within us. Forgive us for our lack of patience and faith, as we want instant results. Teach us to trust Your timing and Your purposes for that which we walk through, as You utilize all things for good in Your time. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and peace and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the waiting and hold hope in You forever. 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

To Give Thanks

This morning as I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I quickly scrolled through my Facebook feed for fun. What quickly caught my attention, was the reintroduction of the Days of Thankfulness posts for November, as an early rising friend had posted her first proclamation of gratitude. Not only is this a great source of encouragement for others, but it is biblical to choose to give thanks. In fact, to recall a verse to site for this particular post, when I searched “give thanks to the Lord”, twenty-three verses came up. Anytime there is repetition in scripture, it reminds me that it is something that we are really meant to grasp.

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

Because God is good and His love endures forever, we have reason to give thanks. It matters not what else is going on in or around us, the very fact that our hope is secure and our Lord is near, is enough. There are and will be days that He is all that we have to hold. Remarkably, as our hearts begin to pour out thanks and praise unto Him, something happens within our spirit, and we soften before Him, allowing all the weariness to be washed away. His hope rises within us, and we more readily recognize all of the blessings that He has poured out upon us, even in the midst of pain. God is so very good, and His love for us never ends. May we rise each day and give Him thanks for who He is and all that He has done and is yet to do.

Oh Lord, let my heart,Presenting Our Praise

hold an attitude;

that is overwhelmed,

with all gratitude.

For You are so good,

and Your love remains;

no matter our sin,

hurt, scars, or our pains.

May all of our thanks,

and praise unto You;

rise up within us,

refresh and renew.

God, You are our hope,

our safe, strong tower;

the love of our life,

our strength and power.

No matter what comes,

may our hearts give praise;

all thanks unto You,

for now and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that all thanks and praise belong to You. Thank You for the recognition and acknowledgement that is displayed this time of year for who You are and all that You have done. Forgive us for not always having a thankful heart, particularly in the midst of pain. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that the trials and struggles we experience now are only temporary, whereas You and Your love are FOREVER! That alone is reason for us to be thankful. Lead us to love others in a way that displays our appreciation for who You have created them to be, so that they too, may see You in our expressions of gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You, for You are good and we are so grateful that Your love never ends. 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

Persevere to the Promise

God has great plans in store for those who love Him. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9) We cannot even begin to fathom all that the Lord has in store for us, both now and for all of eternity. The more we know God and invest time in His word, the greater the glimpses we gain of what is yet to come.

 

Even through hardships, trials and temptations, when we are in Christ, we have His Spirit with us to comfort and guide us as we press on and persevere. In fact, God uses the hard stuff to stretch and grow us into who He is calling us to be. For that reason alone, we can embrace the trials, trusting that He is using them to make us more like Him. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – (Romans 5:3-5) May we hold fast to the promises of God, trusting that all that we go through is for a purpose. More than that, what awaits us for all of eternity, is beyond anything we may ever endure on earth.

 

Times of great trial,Persevere to the Promise

and tempting shall come;

yet not on our own,

but in Christ, are won.

As we persevere,

our character grows;

as hope rises up,

the Lord’s glory shows.

May we each embrace,

all that comes our way;

the Lord can use all,

as hopeful display.

Let glimpses be gained,

of the hope to come;

as we love the Lord,

may battles be won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have not seen, heard, nor conceived all that You have prepared for us who love You, we can trust that it is very, very good. Thank You that when we choose to place our trust in You, our hope is secure forever. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the throes of the trials, and please grant us Your strength to persevere. Thank You that as we rely on You, You grow in us character, and through character; hope. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly and completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persevere in the push, and hold fast to our hope of heaven with You, forever. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6