Agony and Wonder

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. – (Matthew 27:50-51, NIV)

Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. – (Matthew 27:50-51, ERV)

Jesus passionately cried out, took His last breath, and gave up His spirit. At that moment the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth shook violently, rocks were violently split apart. – (Matthew 27:50-51, TPT)

Good Friday was a day full of agony and wonder. Jesus endured tremendous suffering in the temple courts, before the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the soldiers, and went on carrying His cross to the horror on the hill. There Jesus was hung upon a cross between two criminals, mocked and rejected, yet all the while chose to remain in place for a purpose. Not only did He bear the weight of all our sin, but He cried out for God to forgive all who caused Him to endure the agony upon the cross. When He had accomplished all that was intended, He cried out to God and gave up His Spirit. Darkness had overcome the land, the veil in the Temple was torn in two, there was an earthquake, and rocks were split apart. The tearing of the veil was incredibly significant, as the split opened the curtain to the Holiest of Holies, thus removing the barrier between God and people. Christ’s death on the cross removed the sin and shame that had been cause of the need for the barrier from the beginning. Because He bore our sin and shame, our own behavior that created the divide between us and God, had been removed. In the same way that the rocks were shaken and split, our hearts ought to be stirred to split away from that which keeps us from closeness with Christ. May we be intentional to look to all that Christ endured upon the cross, and give Him praise with awe and wonder at the depth of love that would compel Him to bear all of our sin and make the way for a right relationship with God.

Willing to suffer,

He bore all our sin;

To open the way,

Let new life begin.

It was through His pain,

And all He endured;

That we’ve been made clean,

Granted hope secure.

The goodness that day,

Was promised in three;

A soon empty tomb,

Power to set free.

Let’s look to the cross,

Thank the Lord with praise;

Receive forgiveness,

True hope for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that sacrificed and endured for our sake. Jesus, thank You for suffering in our place to make the way for relationships to be restored with You. Forgive us for every portion of pain that our thoughts, words and deeds heaped upon You on the cross. Teach us to live in the freedom of forgiveness and grace that grows our hearts to love like You. Show us how to love all those around us in ways that make Your heart visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done, still do, and will continue to do, to make the path clear as we seek to serve and honor You. Amen.

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

(Let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Receive to be Rooted

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. 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 2:6-7, ERV)

In the same way you received Jesus our Lord and Messiah by faith, continue your journey of faith, progressing further into your union with Him! Your spiritual roots go deeply into His life as you are continually infused with strength, encouraged in every way. For you are established in the faith you have absorbed and enriched your devotion to Him! – (Colossians 2:6-7, TPT)

When we choose Christ, we must continue to live in Him. This transpires as we seek Him, depend on Him, and allow Him to be our life and strength. We grow stronger in faith and understanding, which leads us to continually give Him thanks. In this season of intentional gratitude, may we ever recognize all that God has done, and allow our lives to overflow with our thanks to Him through living lives of love.

Just as we received,

Jesus Christ as Lord;

May we continue,

By grace He affords.

As we choose press on,

Our faith further grows;

We are established,

While love overflows.

Through goodness and grace,

May our roots grow deep;

Rooted in His love,

Strengthened as we seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we receive all that You freely offer, You strengthen and grow our faith. Thank You that in You, we have countless reasons to give thanks. Forgive us for losing sight of an eternal perspective, as our eyes get diverted by the troubles of the times. Teach us to fix our eyes on You, the Author and perfecter of our faith. Show us how to seek You to lead us in love and strengthen us to live out Your love with all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek, receive, trust and grow in Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:17-18

Perfect Perseverance

Running Our RaceA great cloud of witnesses,

is surrounding us all;

so throw off entanglements,

let all that hinders, fall.

May we run and persevere,

the race set before us;

with our eyes fixed on Jesus,

with whom all plans discuss.

The Author and Perfecter,

Creator of our faith;

who for joy set before Him,

endured scorn and disgrace.

So now we must consider,

He sits at God’s right hand;

may we never grow weary,

in pursuing His plan.

For He is our source of strength,

so we needn’t lose heart;

faithful to His promises,

saving grace He imparts.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

– (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have sent before us, a great cloud of witnesses – those who have gone before us who were faithful to endure to the end – so that we might know what perseverance looks like. Thank You Jesus, for enduring the scorn and shame of our unrighteousness, so that we may be seen as righteous. Forgive us for when our faith wavers, and please strengthen and solidify our faith forever in You. May the way we run our race, reflect clearly, Your love, so that those who are seeking may find the One True Source. Amen.

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