Hard Hearts Made New

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, NIV)

Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, ERV)

Jesus responded, “I promise you – this very day you will enter paradise with Me.” – (Luke 23:43, TPT)

The response of Jesus to the criminal beside Him who was repentant, reminds us how great His grace truly is. Though He himself was hanging from the cross in agony, Jesus still heard the call of a repentant soul, and let it be known that the promise for all who turn away from their sinful ways and turn to God, remained true, even as they were living out their last breaths of life. No matter how far from God someone may appear, their salvation could be but a few breaths away. God works in mysterious ways. If He can touch the heart of a hardened criminal as he is having his death sentence carried out, God can do the same for anyone. We celebrate Christ’s arrival at Christmas, but this season ought to remind us why He came. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy to all who are willing to receive. May we fix our eyes on the greatest gift ever given, and celebrate as we walk in forgiveness, extending peace, love, hope and joy to all those around us.

The promise through Christ,

Was given for all;

So love might be known,

Through us, great and small.

For nothing we do,

That’s done with great love;

Goes without notice,

By the Lord above.

The Lord takes our gifts,

In love, multiplies;

The impact they have,

His grace maximized.

Lord, help us to rise,

With purpose each day;

Let our love spread hope,

Lead us in Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to save us. Thank You that You receive us as we call on Your Name and recognize our desperate need for You. Forgive us for frustration and lack of faith when things seem impossible through our own eyes and understanding. Thank You that You are so much greater than we realize. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant peace, hope, love and joy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension in awe and wonder and gratitude. Amen.

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

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Given Despite What We Deserve

“We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:41-43, NLT)

 

This scene so perfectly depicts the mercy and grace that God is willing to give if we choose Him. Like the criminals hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we all deserve to die for our sin. Not one of us is sinless, and the promised punishment for sin is death. However, while we were yet stuck in our sin, just as those hanging beside Him, Jesus chose to bear the burden for all so that we could come to Him to have life everlasting. All it took for the criminal in his final hours of life, was the recognition and admission of who Jesus was, and how he deserved what he himself was receiving. In asking to be remembered, the criminal was granted the mercy and grace that is given to each of us who choose to do the same. When we come to Christ and call on His Name, admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior who are seeking His forgiveness and grace, He grants us the very same promise of eternal life that was given on that most remarkable day. May we remember the price Christ paid for our sins, and the love that leads us to life everlasting.

 

Criminal status,Shackles No More

All of us with sin;

Each destined to die,

‘less grace enters in.

Because of the cross,

We all can choose claim;

Christ as our Savior,

Find hope in His Name.

For it is by grace,

That we all may come;

Receive His mercy,

O Most Holy One.

So come one and all,

Seek mercy and grace;

Receive forgiveness,

Everlasting place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for willingly taking our sin upon Yourself, so that we could be made righteous before You. Thank You for loving us despite our unworthiness. Forgive us for thinking that we or anyone else has to be qualified somehow to deserve mercy and grace. Teach us to love as You love, so that we would offer mercy and grace to all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You have loved us. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

In Heaven’s Hold

In Heavens HoldIn but an instant,

all the pain did end;

as strong arms lifted,

His light did attend.

My heart could not hold,

so much to take in;

my once sickly frame,

no more frail and thin.

This heart now so light,

through bright rays we soared;

soon arriving home,

where I am adored.

Knees wanting to bend,

head ready to bow;

I heard Him calling,

“Anne, come to me now.”

His arms were outstretched,

I began to run;

to my loving Lord,

Overcoming One.

As I reached His arms,

fell in His embrace;

He spun me around,

looked upon my face.

Though I was fearful,

of what I might see;

tender loving eyes,

were looking at me.

With ear to His chest,

I heard His heartbeat;

He told me the sound,

was His love for me.

He allowed me stay,

in the warmth of Him;

’til I was ready,

to get down again.

Back upon my feet,

He offered His hand;

together we walked,

marveled at this land.

All around I peered,

at so much to see;

He then reminded,

that all was for me.

Do not fear friends,

I now know such peace;

I’ll be here waiting,

for your sweet release.

So much to behold,

such wonder to see;

may you find great joy,

when you think of me.

“Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.” – (Psalm 73:23-24)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, death is not the end, but rather, the beginning. Thank You that You have gone before us to prepare a place in paradise forever. Forgive us for fearing our own end on earth, and help us to hold a heavenly view. Teach us to live and love as though we will see You very soon, as this life is but an instant in comparison to eternity. May our love and hope, even in times of great sorrow and struggle, show those who know You not yet, how to come to hold Your hope and promises as their own. Amen.

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