Hope While We Wait

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then He put His hand on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:10-13, NIV)

He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, He called her over. ”Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. – (Luke 13:10-13, MSG)

Around this time, He was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. A woman there had been sick for 18 years; she was weak, hunched over, and unable to stand up straight. Jesus placed His hands on her and suddenly she could stand straight again. She started praising God. – (Luke 13:10-13, VOICE)

 

At first, this passage made me curious as to what the woman had been suffering from for so long. After a bit of pondering, and reading a bit further, I realized there was so much to grasp from the story, that it really was irrelevant as to what caused her crippled state for so many years, but rather that on that particular Sabbath, she was healed. Not only was her long-awaited hope realized, but Jesus silenced the piousness of the synagogue leader, who claimed it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus, in His great wisdom, pointed out the purpose of the healing, and how it was far more important than watering an animal, which everyone did, even on the Sabbath. As His opponents were silenced, the woman who was healed could not contain her gratitude. She stood tall for the first time in eighteen years; with her hands extended toward heaven, she gave glory to God. I do wonder if she had shown up on that particular Sabbath hoping to be healed, or simply had come to hear the teaching of Jesus and be encouraged. Either way, Hope had come. After eighteen long years, she had been restored, and immediately, she gave all glory to God.

This both encourages and challenges me in this season. I woke at 2:30 this morning, for no apparent reason. Immediately, my thoughts went to my mom. I searched for the number to call the front desk at her senior living community to check in and see how she was doing, but the number I reached, rang off the hook. Defeated, I sat on the steps and prayed for her. Perhaps that was what I was meant to do all along; just pray. In the same way that healing came to that woman in the synagogue, I am contending for in my mom. God has done some miraculous work, as He spared her life and is actively restoring much of what was lost due to her stroke, yet I am continuing to pray for total healing – full and complete. God is good, and He is able to move and heal and grant hope; always. May we be encouraged to hold hope, even in the waiting, for God is good and His love endures forever.

 

Hope is the anchor, Anchor

To which we can hold;

Steady and secure,

Sure strength to behold.

For God is our rock,

When all else gives way;

He won’t be shaken,

By wind, storm or waves.

So, cling close to Christ,

All doubts, choose ignore;

God will be with us,

Beside and before.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who heals. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, even when the wait seems long. Forgive us for forgetting how incredibly powerful Your love is for each of us. Teach us to trust You more – both for healing and in the waiting. Show us how to love well, all those around us, with encouragement, strength and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your incredible love that first heals hearts and then touches lives in countless other ways. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

To Wait and See

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV)

Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, Your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, ERV)

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. Simeon: Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel. – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE)

 

After closely reading this passage several times in the various translations, I am quite curious to know more of Simeon’s story. Imagine receiving a promise from God that You would see, with your own eyes, the Savior of the world?! Additionally, based on the phrasing, I would venture to infer that Simeon had been holding fast to God’s promise for many years. My mind’s eye pictures a man of many years, as his words indicate that he is in the latter season of his life. One of the most incredible pieces to this story is that Simeon knew who Jesus was as he took Him into his arms to give God thanks. Did God give him divine insight, a word, a dream? Had the Lord foretold Simeon how Jesus’ coming would transpire, so that he would know the child as He was brought to the temple? Whatever the case may have been, Simeon knew, and he spoke it out before Mary and Joseph, granting them further insight into exactly who they would be raising as their son. As parents, there already is awe and wonder at the new life placed in our care. Imagine the whirlwind that likely filled their hearts as Mary and Joseph brought their baby boy to the temple and heard such incredible things about their son. A faith-filled blessing and an elated elderly man were likely the two things that the new parents would never forget about that time in the temple. That baby did grow and become the Light of the world and the way to salvation for all who choose believe. May we have a heart like Simeon as we recognize the powerful presence that came into the world that blessed holy night, so that we may all have life everlasting in Him.

 

Let’s look in wonder, Simeons Story

Reflect back in awe;

What God had promised,

Dear Simeon saw.

A heart that trusted,

What God had foretold;

Gifted the faithful,

In his arms to hold.

The Light of the world,

Promised Prince of Peace;

Messiah, Savior,

Salvation’s release.

What God promises,

Is truth that He keeps;

May we choose to trust,

Each word that He speaks.

Glory to the Lord,

From whom blessings flow;

All thanks unto Him,

As His love light shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessed gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, that You were willing to step down from Your heavenly throne and come into the world as an infant, so that You would know and understand intimately, the struggles we face; yet do so without sin so that You could offer salvation. Thank You for giving Your life so that we can have life everlasting with You. Forgive us for not making time to dig into Your word or ponder the truth that You speak to our hearts. Teach us to be intentional with our time. Show us how to live and love in a way that extends Your goodness and grace to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You and lean into Your word, giving You thanks for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Willing to Set Free

On a Sabbath, when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He noticed a woman bent over and crippled by a spirit. She had been this way for eighteen years. Imagine what it must have been like for her, an outcast of society – both a woman and one whom was disfigured, noticed and called forth by Jesus. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12) He went on to reach out and touch her, and she was healed immediately. The untouchable received a touch, and her response was righteous. …Immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13b)

 

Jesus sees us too. He knows what has us bent over and bound, and He is willing to set us free. When He calls us, are we willing to walk forward and allow His touch? The woman must have either moved out of desperation or deep faith. Either way, she stepped forward when Christ called. If she had remained hidden and frozen in fear, she would have missed her moment of healing. May we be brave and bold to respond to whatever Jesus asks, so that we may receive all that He has for us.

 

Seen in a space,Willing to Set Free

where hidden to most;

Christ is aware,

and has us come close.

Draw near to Him,

for He’s calling you;

He wants to heal,

ever make us new.

His tender touch,

and our lives shall change;

Christ’s love made known,

our great Savior reigns.

Whom Christ sets free,

finds freedom indeed;

to live and love,

and help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see what binds us, and You call us unto Yourself so that You can set us free. Thank You that You touch our brokenness and make us whole again. Forgive us for our fears that keep us from bringing what has us bound before You. Teach us to trust You more so that we may move forward in faith, and allow You access to all. Touch our hearts, minds, and entire lives so that we may move in Your freedom. Lead us to love others, as You so faithfully love each of us. May many come into a saving and lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we respond to Your requests, and receive all of our adoration and praise. 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

Watching for Wisdom

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

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

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

Risk to Reward

Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. – (Luke 13:13)

 

Eighteen years of crippling pain. Eighteen years of torment that hunched her body over to the point that she could not stand up straight… One moment, on one hope-filled Sabbath, her life was forever changed. Though she was a lowly crippled woman (as viewed through the lens of society at the time), Jesus noticed her. Not only did He notice, but He called her forward, individually. Imagine the internal angst that she must have wrestled with in going forward. Fear of public exposure and ridicule, yet hope of healing by this man about whom she had heard. When she arrived within His reach, Jesus spoke to her and told her she was set free from her infirmity. However, it was what happened next that transformed her body, heart and mind. Jesus touched. He placed His healing hands on what was crippled and bound, and in an instant, she was free! Upright and able to move for the first time in eighteen long years, the woman praised God immediately. Imagine the sight and sound in the middle of the stuffy synagogue, as this dear woman had been set free…

 

What is binding us where we are, and are we willing to obey what He asks in order to be set free? A moment’s risk often reaps an eternal reward. We must listen for His voice and make the choice, to go forward in faith, wherever He calls us to move. He is faithful to meet us if we choose to operate in obedience to that which He asks. May we go forth in faith, trusting Him in all things, ever aware of the miraculous that transpires all around us.

 

The gentle whisper,Risk to Reward

that calls unto us;

says, “Come unto me,”

the voice of Jesus.

As we walk in faith,

miracles are seen;

for Christ is faithful,

as He makes us clean.

Cleansed from the sinful,

freed from the binding;

loved in brokenness,

His hope reminding.

May our response be,

one of endless praise;

let our hearts reply,

with thanks all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us and know us, and call us by name. Thank You that You call us out to help and heal us, and that You come close and touch. Forgive us for the times that our immediate response to You has been anything other than praise, for You are so very good to us. Help us to be ever aware of Your presence and Your promises, so that we may hold fast to Your hope, even on the more difficult days. Teach us to walk with unwavering faith, so that we may love others as You so generously love us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in faith. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Give Ear to Hear

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” – (Acts 11:3)  Though this may not sound like much to us today, at the time, the Jewish believers were shocked and confused at the potential scandal that Peter would dare enter the home of one who was considered unclean.  Far worse, he had not only gone into the home, but he had eaten there – which was a huge cultural faux pas at that particular point in history.

That being said, the early followers of Christ did something very right – they chose to hear him out – to truly listen to what he had to say first, before they began throwing stones.  As Peter shared with them, all that God had shown him, they were in awe and realized that God had sent His Holy Spirit and the message of salvation for all people, not just the Jews.  “When they had heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

What if all people in the church were given the same opportunity to share their story?  Imagine the misinterpretations that would become clear, and the skewed perspectives that might be seen through His lens rather than our own…  Perhaps the solution can begin with each of us.  If we are uncertain about something that another says or does, we can go directly to the source and ask for clarity with kindness.  Humbly, we can seek to understand.  Beyond that, we are meant to extend grace to one another.  Each of us are in the process of being made more like Him.  However, not one of us has yet arrived.  Some days will be better than others, and on those “other” days, grace is the best gift that can be given.

Give ear to hear,Give Ear to Hear

what the heart does hold;

the unspoken,

the truth to behold.

Only by grace,

will story be known;

in the safety,

where kindness is shown.

Let our hearts hear,

what others need speak;

so truth is told,

when answers, we seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and that no matter what we have done, we can always seek Your throne.  Thank You that You receive us as Your children, covered and cleansed, the moment we turn away from our sin and toward You.  Forgive us for not extending grace to others, as You extend it to us, and teach us to ask if we have questions, and to give grace and listen.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move as You call us to move.  Help us to lavishly love and extend grace in such a way, that others are pointed directly unto You.  May many come to know You as Redeemer and King.  In Your mighty Name, Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Love Over Law

Often, it seems, Jesus spent the Sabbath teaching in synagogues.  Word of His teaching, must have been spreading like wildfire, for everywhere He went, there were both those in need, and those who hoped to trap Him in some sort of violation of the law.  In Luke chapter thirteen, verses ten through seventeen, there is an account of Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen long years.  “When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’  Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” – (vs. 12-13) 

The synagogue ruler had his undergarments in a bunch, and was outraged that Jesus would dare to heal on the Sabbath.  “The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites!  Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” – (vs. 15-16) His opponents were left without words to respond, for there was no arguing with such profound truth.  All who had seen the miraculous, marveled at the wonderful things that He was doing.

When we see someone in need, do we respond immediately, or do we rationalize reason to not respond?

Though there are times and places that genuinely prevent us from physically getting out of the car and moving in the direction of the need, can’t we at the very least, lift up a prayer on their behalf?  We cannot always do something tangible to be of help, but we can always pray.  God knows each need far better than we do, and when we pause to pray, we give Him opportunity to speak to us as well.  Perhaps there is something specific that we are meant to do, but unless we stop to listen, we miss the miraculous that He had intended.  Sometimes the miracle is meant for another, yet, at times, it may be something new, moving within our hearts.

When we see a need,Love Over Law

let us stop and pray;

show us what to do,

Lord, You lead the way.

A touch or a gift,

a smile, or prayer;

every need known,

God, You are aware.

Please make known to us,

what we’re meant to do;

to show Your great love,

so we honor You.

Let hearts found in need,

know their needs are met;

by You alone, God,

not one You’d forget.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to prioritize people.  Thank You Jesus, that touching lives trumped man-made rules and regulations every time.  Thank You that above all – You loved, and continue to love.  Forgive us for having hearts that resemble the synagogue ruler, who set limits as to when and what could be done.  Help us to recognize that with You, there is no limit – for You are our Source and Supply.  Whatever You call us to do, You will also equip and empower us to complete.  Our part, is to step forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more.  May we live and move and do all things out of our love for You, and may many come to see Your heart for them as a result.  Let lives be changed and hearts turned toward You.  Be glorified God.  Amen.

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