Hope Rises

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 the place where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:2-6, NIV)

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” – (Mark 16:6, NIV)

“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day, be raised again.” Then they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, NIV)

 

Mary and Mary Magdalene had been with Jesus consistently throughout the previous three years. They had witnessed miracles and listened to His teachings, again and again. On the day that He was crucified, the two were mentioned as they stood at the foot of the cross, and the two were there watching as Pilate’s guards placed the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb. In the morning, on the third day, the day following the Sabbath, Mary and Mary Magdalene hurried to the place where Jesus lay, hoping to at least gain a glimpse of His body, likely to honor the Savior with their mourning. I can only imagine their shock and disbelief at the sight of giant gleaming angel, seated on the enormous stone that had been rolled away. I wonder if their hearts leaped within them as the angel of the Lord reminded them of Jesus’ own words, when He had foretold of His resurrection. As soon as the words settled in, they viewed the empty tomb, and realized that all Jesus had spoken, had come to pass. Today, we remember the remarkable way that Jesus came to offer salvation to all who believe. He died in our place, but not even death, a dreadful death on a cross, could overcome our Giver of Life. Death was defeated and Jesus is alive! His death, so we may live; His resurrection, so that we have hope for eternity with Him. May we celebrate this glorious day in the knowledge that He is Risen and we can forever dwell with Him!

 

Early one morning, Hope in an Empty Tomb

Many years ago;

While others still slept,

Two ladies did go.

They walked to the tomb,

Where Jesus did lay;

Angelic greeting,

The stone rolled away.

The tomb sat empty,

Jesus was not there;

“The Lord is alive”,

The angel declared.

In awe and wonder,

The women recalled;

Jesus said He’d rise,

New hope was installed.

Jesus is alive,

Death has lost its sting;

All sin, defeated,

Through Christ’s offering.

Celebrate in faith,

His power to rise;

Through death and new life,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that death was defeated and our sins, forgiven. Thank You for the hope and the power that is planted in us through the resurrection. Forgive us for not recognizing both the weight and the wonder, as Jesus took it all so that we might live. Teach us to look upon the cross with great gratitude, and recall the empty tomb with resurrected hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays the hope we hold because death was defeated for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Risen Redeemer. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your ultimate victory and praise You for the power You impart to us, so that we too may be overcomers, with hope that is secure for our eternity. Amen.

 

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

 

“Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:7

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

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Listen for Wisdom

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. – (Proverbs 19:20, NLT)

Listen to advice and accept discipline, then you, too, will become wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, ERV)

 

Wisdom comes over time, through actively seeking to know and understand. My mom models this principle, much like her mother before her. She pursues new learning wherever she can, and reads constantly. Her circle of friends is vast and diverse, exposing her to a wide knowledge base, even in her social arena. Today is the day that we celebrate her birth, and I am beyond blessed to call her my Mom. She loves with her whole heart, and gives all of herself to those whom she loves and whatever she does. Her wisdom is not flaunted, but sweet and subtle, just as her mother before her. However, when a conversation of depth is covered, the years of actively pursuing truth is evident, and I still call my mom to ask her how to do things and want her to be pleased with the things that I say and do. May we give thanks for the moms who raised us, or those who came alongside us to show us what it is to mother well.

 

All thanks be to God, Mom

For my own mother;

Whose wisdom and strength,

Led like no other.

As she sought advice,

Her wisdom and grace;

Showed me how to live,

To run well, my race.

Thank You, dear Jesus,

For this precious gift;

For my loving Mom,

All praise to You, lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek advice and instruction from You, You give us wisdom. Thank You for my mom and her mom before her that have modeled this so beautifully for me. Please bless and keep her today and always, as she is a treasure that I am so grateful to have in my life. Forgive us for not seeking You for advice and instruction, and teach us to remember that all wisdom that lasts, comes from You. Show us how to love and appreciate those whom You have placed in our path to both parent us, and for us to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek wisdom and instruction from You, so that we might be wise in the ways that You are calling us to go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Pass It On

We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things He has done. – (Psalm 78:4, MSG)

We will not keep these things secret from their children; rather, we will tell the coming generation all about the praise that is due to the Eternal One. We will tell them all about His strength, power, and wonders. – (Psalm 78:4, VOICE)

 

The challenges and struggles that stand before today’s youth require faith more than ever before. We live in a culture that floods young minds with temptation to be lured a hundred different directions without the constants that they desperately desire. If we do not teach them of the wonders of God and show them hope in a world where hope is so often lost, the future that follows them will be bleak. However, when children are raised to know hope in Him, they rise up into adulthood with a filter that helps them fix their eyes on that which is to take them in the direction they are meant to go, rather than being tugged by too many things. In my own life, hearing of the marvelous things that He had done in the lives of those before me, inspired a great desire to discover all that He had for me as well. May we not keep God’s goodness to ourselves, but ever share of His wonders with our children, so that they too may seek the Lord and His strength in their lives.

 

Keep not to ourselves, IMG_2344

God’s glory and might;

We are meant to share,

Give young ones insight.

Tell of His wonder,

The good He has done;

Speak of the Lord’s strength,

The battles He’s won.

Let’s give our kids hope,

Where often there’s none;

Share His faithfulness,

Our Almighty One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown Your faithfulness to us through the generations before us. Thank You for those who did not stay silent, but rather shared with us the glory of Your majesty and power. Thank You for the privilege to pass along the same to the next generation that follows us. Forgive us for keeping things to ourselves that were meant to be shared, as the coming generation needs to know the wonder of Your majesty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and hear Your heart as to how and what we are meant to share. Show us how to love those who follow after us in a way that gives them hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share of the marvelous things that You have done with those whom You have placed in our charge. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Declare What You Deem True

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, NLT)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, ERV)

 

So often, we make it all far more complicated than it needs to be. Jesus does not desire an army of robotic rule followers, but rather He longs for those who believe and trust in Him. As we make the choice to let actions and voice reflect the truth that we trust, our salvation has already been deemed secure. It takes trust and a profession of our faith – a statement that declares though we may not understand everything, we will choose to trust the truth that we have come to know. In taking a step forward in faith, He meets us and further grows our foundation in the hope that we hold in Him. Though trials come, His promised presence proves trustworthy and true, time and time again, as we lean into the Lord and allow Him to lead. May we declare the truth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, so that all may be saved and know with certainty that our eternity is secure in Him.

 

Confession of faith,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Declaring Christ Lord;

With heart that believes,

Eternal reward.

For it’s not by works,

Nor can it be earned;

God longs for our hearts,

That choose love and learn.

Let words that we speak,

And our hearts believe;

God’s death raising strength,

Our hope to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire robotic rule followers, but rather You long for us to believe the truth that You defeated death and say with our voice that You are Lord. Forgive us for over complicating the process of coming into a relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn the truth as we seek You and spend time in Your presence and Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see the evidence of Your heart in our lives as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we declare that You are Lord and believe that You alone, raised Jesus from the dead so that we could have life everlasting. Amen.

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

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

Reminders Anew

They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again. – (Matthew 20:19, ERV)

 

As Easter approaches, we are reminded anew of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He willingly bore the agony of the cross on our behalf, so that we could be raised to new life in Him. This season is a reminder of the awakening that occurred as life was breathed into His body in the tomb. Though there are dark days, when the sun returns and the flowers bloom, we see the hope of the longer, sweeter days of summer on the horizon. In the same way, on the third day, after much darkness and despair, those closest to Jesus went to visit His body, only to discover that He was alive again! Our hope is held in the One who defeated death so that we could find life in Him forever. May we always remember that the darkness is but for a season, and His light dwells within us, holding the hope of all that is yet to come.

 

When darkness and death,Embracing Grace

Seem to dominate;

Remember to seek,

Him who can relate.

For Jesus, He knows,

The weight of our pain;

As we seek His help,

He makes His grace plain.

We’re granted His hope,

His love and His peace;

Life everlasting,

Grace that will not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly endured the scorn and shame of the cross, and overcame the grave to give us new life in You. Thank You that even when darkness and death seem to surround us, there is always light and life in You. Forgive us for making You too small, as You are the Overcoming King. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we offer hope, light and life where they fear there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and celebrate the power held in Your presence as You alone bring hope and new life. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Our Good, Good Father

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

 

Our inheritance from our Heavenly Father is the only inheritance that lasts. Though our earthly fathers may pass on good things – be it morals, life lessons, or monetary treasures – not one compares to that of the salvation and eternal hope that is held in the hands of our Heavenly Father. As so many rightly celebrate earthly fathers today, may we not forget our Heavenly Father, as it is through Him that we have light and life and hope forever. May we worship the Lord with all that we are, and give Him thanks for the men that He has placed on our path to father us well. May the fatherless know of His love, and men of faith rise up and fill in the gaps in tangible ways.

 

All thanks be to God,Compassion in Confrontations

Our Father indeed;

He sees where we are,

And meets all our need.

Hope for the hopeless,

And light for the lost;

Freedom from our sin,

For He paid the cost.

We give You thanks too,

For the men You’ve raised;

To father us well,

O Lord, we sing praise.

God, You are so good,

And I stand in awe;

Such a good father,

Perfect, without flaw.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our perfect Father, and You love us without limits. Thank You that no matter what sort of earthly father we have experienced – good, bad or anything in between – You are the only One who is perfect in all of Your ways and worthy of all of our praise. Forgive us for not seeing You as the ultimate Father, when earthly fathers fall short. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize that all are a work in progress, and You are the one whom we are to worship in all things and at all times. Help us to love and support well, the fathers that are around us. May they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You as our good, good Father. 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

For a listen to a great song, Good Good Father, by Housefires, click the highlighted title. 🙂

Asking, Seeking, Knocking, Finding

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)

 

Our prayers can only be heard and answered if we actually pray them. Hope and desire are good things, yet it is only in the asking, seeking and actively pursuing God, that we find Him. God hears our prayers and is ready to answer if we are willing to come before Him. Though He may not answer in the way we anticipate, our prayers never fall on deaf ears. He always hears. When we earnestly seek Him, we find God. His peace and His presence are readily available everywhere – we have to be willing to slow down and seek, in order to find. To keep moving the direction He has called, we have to keep pressing forward. Though God calls us in a direction, it does not mean that the path will be easy or that every door will be open along the way. Our charge and our challenge is to remain dependent on Him, so that we will knock on closed doors to discover if we are meant to go through, or find another way around. He is faithful to show us the way, if we are willing to ask Him for direction. May we seek the Lord, asking Him for the answers we need to know. May we find courage to knock on closed doors, and discover the doors we are meant to walk through. Amen.

 

When we choose to ask,

’tis how we receive;Asking for Amazing Answers

we find in the seeking,

in Christ we believe.

For knocking on doors,

is how we shall find;

where we need walk through,

and from where to hide.

Doors will not open,

if we never knock;

prayers go unanswered,

if we never talk.

May voices be raised,

in faith, let us pray;

seek, knock, ask and find,

He’ll show us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that when we ask of You, You hear our prayers and You answer. Thank You that as we knock on doors before us, You open the ones that we are meant to walk through. Forgive us for not presenting our prayers before You, or for lacking persistence in our seeking and knocking, even when we know that You hold the answers that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down, seek, ask and knock, wherever we need to hear from You. Show us the way to completely rely on You, so that we go forth and love others in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and ask You for answers, trusting You to show us the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Give Thanks As We Proclaim

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

In my early twenties, I had the rare opportunity to be a part of Youth With A Mission, and saw firsthand, the carrying out of the great commission in action. We were able to go out to the ends of the earth and tell the world of what He has done. The teams that I was a part of traveled to Thailand, India, China, Bangladesh, Macau and Hong Kong (before it was turned back over to China). Trains, planes, boats, rickshaws, backpacks up mountains, and living among some of the world’s poorest, were part of our daily adventures. It was an exciting time, and as we gave thanks to the Lord and proclaimed His greatness, we could see, firsthand, how we were letting the world know what He had done.

After returning from such an adventurous lifestyle, it took quite a mind shift to recognize that I could still impact the world through giving thanks and proclaiming who God is. What I discovered as I began teaching in the city in which I was raised, is that the population had become very global. Though I was not going out into all of the world, all of the world was coming into my classroom on a daily basis. Seeds of kindness that I began to plant, were God’s to water and grow.

For years I have utilized writing as a personal outlet, rarely allowing anyone else to read what God had written on my heart. A few years ago, a dear friend who I did allow to read my writing from time to time, began to encourage me to consider sharing my writing with a larger circle. Though terrified, I ventured to spread the circle a bit wider. The few became a few more, and blogging was birthed in me. Today, the thrill of seeing the flag of another nation representing a person who has viewed what God is showing me, is overwhelming. God alone is worthy of all of our thanks and praise, for He is great and has done remarkable things! May we go forth this day and let the world know what He has done, as we live a life full of thanks.

All thanks be to God,Give Thanks As We Proclaim

and let us proclaim;

of the Lord’s greatness,

oh most Holy Name.

May all of the earth,

come know what He’s done;

through His love and grace,

He gave us His Son.

Merciful Father,

makes the way for us;

embrace eternal,

through the Lord Jesus.

Lord, You are so good,

You take what we bring;

and accept us each,

as pure offerings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so great and mighty. Thank You that You allow us to be a part of the great commission, wherever we are. Thank You that we can share Your love with the ends of the earth, whether we travel or stay at home. Forgive us for thinking that we cannot make a difference, or for staying silent when we ought to be proclaiming the greatness of who You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would use our words and deeds to appropriately express our gratitude unto You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in a way that sows seeds of Your goodness and grace deep into their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and proclaim Your greatness wherever we may be. 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