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

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Pardon Brings Peace

God blesses those who are merciful, for they are shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NLT)

Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, CEB)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

Mercy is an incredible gift that is given to us from God. The very definition of mercy, is compassionate kindness, favor and forgiveness that is undeserved; pardon when punishment is warranted. As recipients of God’s tender mercy, we ought to be quick to extend the same to those who “offend” us. Sadly, in our broken humanity, often our first thought is retaliation or revenge. It takes an intentional act of our will to choose to seek the Lord and His help, to extend mercy to those whom we feel deserve punishment. A great example of Jesus demonstrating mercy, was to the woman who was caught in an adulterous act, and an entire squad of Pharisees were ready to stone her for her crime. Jesus, spoke to the men, and told them that whomever was without sin, should go ahead and throw the first stone. One by one, they all eventually walked away. Soon, it was just she and Jesus standing there. Rather than casting stones, as He was indeed without sin, He extended mercy and told her to “go and sin no more.” Can you imagine the impact that His act of mercy had on the woman who was likely prepared to die that day? Though public stoning is not such a concern in society today, our sins, mistakes and missteps can weigh just as heavily on our hearts. When someone extends mercy when we deserve otherwise, the impact is powerful and long lasting. May we go forth with hearts full of grace, ready to extend mercy to those who need it most.

 

Those who give mercy, Pardon Brings Peace

Are given the same;

God grants full pardon,

And removes all shame.

For He forgives us,

As we choose forgive;

So hold not a grudge,

Be free, in peace live.

Merciful are blessed,

With hearts full of joy;

True pardon is known,

And peace is employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first show Your mercy to us while we are yet sinners. Thank You that You forgive, though we do not deserve forgiveness. Thank You that mercy is a choice that we can decide to extend with Your help, regardless of what we feel. Forgive us for the times that we should have been merciful and were not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give mercy to others, just as mercy has been given to us. Show us how to love in a way that is compassionate and kind, with favor and forgiveness, even to those who do not “deserve” it. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we show mercy to others, just as we are shown mercy by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Truth Be Told

As Jesus was on the road to Jerusalem and the people began to shout out praise and adoration for all that they had seen through Him, some of the Pharisees objected strongly, and asked Jesus to rebuke those who were following Him.

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, ESV)

 

When the truth of God need be told, it will come forth – be it naturally or supernaturally. God often uses unlikely places to speak His truth in a way that helps our hearts to hear Him best. For Jonah, it took time in the belly of a big fish to get his attention. For Saul, who became Paul, he was blinded through a heavenly encounter along the road. For another, a talking donkey; still others, pillars of fire, a burning bush, parted seas, plagues, writing on a wall… The list goes on. God comes close and meets us where we are, so that we might turn to Him and seek His face. In our space of seeking, we come to find His nearness, and how faithful He is to listen to our heart’s cry. He walks beside us through the wilderness, and leads us to safe pasture where we find rest. He is good, and His love endures forever. May we ever speak of the wonders that He has done, so that others too, may hear His heart for people.

 

Let’s not be silent,Confidence in Christ

for we’re called to praise;

speak of His goodness,

for all of our days.

For if not from us,

the truth still be told;

the rocks shall cry out,

all praise to behold.

It is our calling,

what we’re charged to do;

to speak of His love,

and how we’re made new.

It is by His grace,

our story to tell;

may we share in faith,

with hope, it is well.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to participate in the sharing of Your story. Thank You that we each have a story of how You have come into our lives and changed our hearts as we have sought after You. Thank You that You love people so much that if we did not speak the truth of who You are, even the rocks would testify on Your behalf. Forgive us for staying silent when we are meant to speak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be courageous and not fear what others might think of us when we share of what You have done for us, personally. Thank You that You have done so much. Show us how to love others so that they may see the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we speak of Your goodness and grace, and how You love in even the most broken space. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

 

 

Worth More

Despite how we feel, or how we are received by others, we are highly valued by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

Jesus was speaking to His disciples to beware of the Pharisees, but not to fear. He pointed out that even the sparrows that were sold for mere coins, were not forgotten by God. God intimately knows each of us. He knit us and formed us in our mother’s womb. For each of us, the Lord has plans to prosper and not to harm us – a hope and a future. Though people can cause bodily harm, they cannot steal our soul. When we commit our hearts to Christ, we have the security and assurance of His presence now, and all of eternity in heaven. May we rest assured in the security of being intimately known by our loving Savior, who values each one of us, individually.

 

Intimately known,Sparrow2

and loved just the same;

by the Lord of all,

give praise to His Name.

Let’s not be afraid,

to Him we have worth;

He knew us before,

the day of our birth.

The number of hairs,

on our heads are known;

for Christ truly loves,

and calls us His own.

Let each heart rise up,

and give God all praise;

each day unto Him,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are intimately known by You, and loved anyway. Thank You that in You, we have nothing to fear, as You do not forget any of Your created. Thank You that You value each one of us, not for what we have accomplished, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for our feelings that we are somehow forgotten or not covered and cared for. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might slow down and be still, giving our hearts opportunity to hear and acknowledge all that You are, and just how much You love us. Lead us to love others, as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we rise up in recognition of who You are, and the wonder of Your love for all. Amen.

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

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

Operating in Awe

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away. – (Matthew 22:22)

 

As the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus, He responded in wisdom, as He knew the evil intent behind their inquiry. Though the Pharisees and Herodians were rarely rendered speechless, Jesus often left them with nothing to say. The truth could not be countered nor contested, as they knew that Jesus was correct in all that He had spoken.

 

How often are we left in awe? Do we give God room to speak into our lives? His wisdom, grace and goodness for us, ought to open our eyes to the awesome power that is present in God with us. In the heart of every believer, His Holy Spirit resides. So often squabbles would be silenced and storms would settle, if only we would give ear to His word. May our hearts be open and our ears be ready to hear, as Christ whispers His words that leave us awestruck by the glory of His goodness and grace.

 

In awe and wonder,

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton – please click image to see more 🙂

we stand here, amazed;

at the Lord’s wisdom,

given by His grace.

He looks to the heart,

He knows our intent;

His grace as our guide,

leads us to repent.

May we give God room,

to move in power;

let obedience,

move us each hour.

Lord, as we listen,

help us follow through;

choose to walk Your way,

life faithful to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and kind, and that who You are leaves us in awe. Thank You that when we slow down and make time to listen, You speak to our hearts. Forgive us for not recognizing the awesome power that is present in You (present in us) through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, and help us to stand firm in the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may give You room to move in our hearts and our lives. Let the lost be found as we live in love, listening to Your leading. Be glorified, O God, as we operate in awe of just how great You are. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Clean before Christ is a condition of the heart and mind, not an appearance of our physical form. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were more concerned with their traditions and rituals that cleansed the outside and limited what and how they could consume nourishment, that they ended up completely neglecting their true need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus himself said the following: “Are you so dull?” he asked, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” – (Mark 7:18-19)

 

We too, ought to be aware as well. What we consume with our heart and mind, determine our cleanliness before Christ. Do we honor Him with the choices we are making? If we falter, do we stop and ask for forgiveness and help so that we can avoid similar temptation in the future? The Lord looks at our hearts. He sees and knows where our priorities lie. May we seek Him first in all things, so that we may keep clean hearts and clear minds before Him.

 

Create in me, Lord,Intentional Retreat

a heart that is clean;

one that always seeks,

truth in the unseen.

For out of the heart,

is where life may flow;

to You we belong,

let Your love light show.

May our hearts and minds,

stay right before You;

so we act in love,

to Thee ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that external things and the foods that we consume cannot make us unclean before You. Thank You that our cleansing happens from the inside out. Thank You that You cleanse our hearts and minds if we are only willing to allow You access to all. Forgive us for focusing on external things, rather than on keeping our hearts and minds pure before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our hearts and minds in Your care, allowing You to cleanse and restore the places that are infected with things that should have never been allowed a voice. Help us to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a cleansing relationship with You, Lord God. Be glorified as we are obedient to all that You are asking. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Living Waters Flow

Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. – (John 7:38)

 

In this passage, Jesus was speaking to a crowd in the temple courts. His words of life were offered before all who stood around Him, and despite the antagonizing of the Pharisees, many among them, believed. The streams of living water Jesus spoke of indicated the promise of eternal life. His Holy Spirit is our Source from which living water flows – not only for today, but for all of eternity. If we choose to believe and trust what His word says to be true, and allow Him to be Lord of our lives, living water will dwell in us and flow from us, both now and forevermore. May we each embrace the entirety of His word, and allow Jesus to rule and reign in our lives. Let Your living water flow from us, Lord God.

 

Nothing satisfies,Living Waters Flow

our insatiable thirst;

except for Jesus,

with His love, we’re immersed.

As we choose believe,

our soul comes to know life;

His living waters,

come fill up and revive.

When our hearts are filled,

from us too shall outpour;

our eternal hope,

a life that models more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we believe in You, and place our trust in You, You come and fill us with Your living waters to the point of overflowing. Thank You that You send Your Spirit to dwell in us, so that we may extend some of what has been given to us, unto others. Thank You that in You, we have security and hope, not only for today, but forever. Forgive us for losing sight of eternity when life gets difficult, and help us to keep a proper perspective on the finite. Teach us to trust You in all things at all times, so that Your living water may continually be pouring out of us, as Your vessels of hope to those who do not yet know You. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, and hold the hope that Your living waters bring. Be exalted as we allow Your living waters to dwell in us and flow through us today. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

The Presence of His Power

Mere man is no match for the power of the living God. Three times in Matthew 22, the Pharisees and Sadducees, (the most educated minds of the day) attempted to trap Jesus with their questions. Each time an attempt was made, the people were amazed at the power and authority with which Jesus answered. Jesus knew their evil intent, and was able to expose it each time. “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” – (Matthew 22:46)

 

The power of God at work in Christ, granting wisdom and knowledge, power and strength, is available to all who believe. We too, have access to answers when challenged with difficult questions. When we seek Him, we will find Him, if we seek Him with all of our heart. Jesus was intentional to take time alone to be with the Father to pray. He modeled for us, what is needed to access the very same power that dwells within the hearts of all who have invited Him in. Christ is present and available, and willing to be our help and our hope.

 

The power of God,The Presence of His Power

is alive and free;

I need only ask,

it’s given to me.

Wisdom and knowledge,

power and the strength;

to withstand struggles,

and traverse great lengths.

Greater is the One,

whose dwelling in me;

than all who challenge,

cause adversity.

His presence is found,

as I choose to seek;

He is my true strength,

when I’m feeling weak.

All that is needed,

is found in the Lord;

there’s no other name,

my shield and my sword.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that was in Jesus that granted Him wisdom and power to face all who opposed Him, is alive and available to us. Thank You that we too, can move in wisdom and power as You have commissioned us, if we place our trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust completely, in the mighty power that dwells within us. Make us strong to trust You as we move in faith, and help many come to know the fullness of a life lived in Your love. Let those who are looking, find You. May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may we move mightily in Your strength today. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

The Power of His Name

The Power of His NameWhen the time had come,

and prayers were all said,

a band of soldiers,

by Judas were led.

Into the garden,

priests and Pharisees,

with torches and swords,

to find Nazarene.

Because He did know,

that for Him they came;

He met them and spoke,

let them know His Name.

As the group asked Him,

to confirm they’d found;

with power He spoke,

they fell to the ground!

Such grace-filled courage,

Jesus did display;

what was coming, known,

He chose to obey.

‘Twas His great love,

He willingly went;

the path had been set,

His life to be spent.

Because He answered,

He heeded the call;

we now have the key,

forgiveness for all.

(Responding to John 18:1-6)

Dear Jesus, I cannot even begin to fathom the depth of Your great love for us, as You stood before the soldiers, who were there to take You to Your death. I am in awe of not only Your power, but their response to it. Though I have read this passage many times, this is the first time that I could actually see, in my mind’s eye, the group who had come to arrest You, falling to the ground as You spoke Your Name! Thank You for willingly walking the long and painful road to Calvary, and for taking our sin and shame upon Yourself, so that we may be released from the blame. Thank You for defeating death, so that we might have life. Though we deserve it not, thank You. Please forgive us for the moments when our words and deeds deem that we do not know You. Teach us to live and love as we are called to do, and may we be vessels from which Your goodness and grace are poured out upon those who know you not yet, Your embrace. Heavenly Father, may many come to know just how great Your love is, and may they forever choose to follow You. Amen.

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