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

The Anchor of Easter

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, NIV)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold. – (Hebrews 6:19, TPT)

The sanctuary curtain that used to separate people from the presence of God was torn in two when Jesus surrendered His last breath on the cross. What kept us from a true nearness to God was removed through the death and resurrection of Christ. This ability to draw near and be in a right relationship with God is the anchor for our soul. In this, we lay hold of the hope of both His presence now, and eternity that is yet to come. The only barrier that lies between us and God now, is us. It is up to us to receive all that the God of all creation is offering. This is what Easter is about; He came and removed the barrier between God and us, and provided hope that is firm and secure. Christ is our anchor through every storm, and where hope and love and life truly reside. May we look to the cross and remember the way that was made as Christ freely chose to take our place. Let us hold fast to the hope that is our anchor, no matter what storms cross our path.

The anchor is Christ,

Where true hope is found;

It’s firm and secure,

A love that’s renowned.

His love made the way,

Removing what stood;

Between us and God,

Mercy understood.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts full of praise;

Celebrate Easter,

Because Christ was raised.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we have hope to anchor our soul, and the freedom to come before You without barriers. Thank You that You removed the curtain that stood between us and You receive us as we come, no matter what state our hearts are in. Forgive us for forgetting the security that we have in You, as You anchor our hearts to Yours and hold us close through life’s wind and waves. Teach us to embrace the grace You freely give, and cling to the hope that anchors our soul. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend hope, safety and trust in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and gratitude through our days, for You are Who we need to navigate this life well. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Found by the Sound

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

The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them. – (Luke 19:10, ERV)

For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost. – (Luke 19:10, MSG)

 

Years ago, I was hiking in the early spring. We came upon an area that was covered in snow, and kept walking. Soon, we lost the trail, and were uncertain of which direction we were meant to go. In life, it is just as easy to slip away from the right path, once we start stepping beyond the security of the one that has been prepared for us. Thankfully, we stopped wandering and paused to listen. Water flows down, and we heard a stream nearby. We followed the sound, and soon discovered the path we had lost sight of in the snow. Jesus is the same way. If we listen for His voice, He will lead us in the way that we are meant to go. He pulls us out of our darkness and restores us into a right relationship with Him. His life, death, resurrection and ascension all took place so that we could be rescued from our wandering in the wilderness. Jesus will lead us back to the path He intends for us to walk, if we slow down and seek His voice. May we ever be intentional to listen, so that we know the path prepared for us; for this is the way to live eternally with Him.

 

We all are in need, Found by the Sound

God’s grace leads us on;

His love that forgives,

Empowers, makes strong.

Strong for the journey,

To follow the way;

The path He provides,

For all of our days.

He came to save us,

All who were once lost;

To set our feet right,

His love paid the cost.

Listen to His voice,

He’ll make the way clear;

Ever He will lead,

As we seek, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to seek and save us. Thank You that You bring us out of our wandering in the wilderness, and set our feet secure on the path that You have prepared for us. Forgive us for wandering. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know where every road leads, and have prepared the way for us with purpose. Show us how to love and support those around us as they discover the route that You have prepared for them to best navigate their own journey. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we faithfully follow every step You call us to take, for You path provides an eternal promise. Amen.

 

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

 

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

The Light Has Come

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NIV) 

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV) 

Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways – He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, VOICE) 

 

This declaration in Isaiah occurred centuries prior to Christ’s arrival. God’s faithful followers were quite familiar with this passage, as they understood that one day, the Christ would come. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds all knew that this was to come to pass, and suddenly, here they were, in the midst of God’s promised miracle. No wonder Mary pondered these things and treasured them in her heart, and likewise, it is no surprise that the shepherds were overwhelmed with praise for the newborn King. All that they had been waiting for was unfolding before them.  What a wonder to behold! Today, we are equally blessed to be the bearers of this news. For the baby that was so long promised, came, grew, and made the way for us to know Him, leading us to a place of knowing the Prince of Peace for ourselves. Throughout time, Christ has shown himself in each of the roles, again and again. He is the Wonderful Counselor who is faithful to lead us and guide us; Powerful God, greater than any circumstance we may face; Everlasting Father, who is the same yesterday, today and forever; and the Prince of Peace, who reminds us that He is present in powerful ways, as He came to be the Light of the world. May we all find a quiet moment to reflect on how our Heavenly Father has fulfilled all of these roles in our lives this year, and look forward in faith, knowing that He will remain present as we walk forward without fear of the future – for God with us, shall endure forever. 

 

The Light of the world, The Hope of the World

Most surely has come; 

Born in a stable, 

Omnipotent One. 

Though but a baby, 

The Savior, He grew; 

To bless with new life, 

Both for me and you. 

Our great Counselor, 

Most Powerful One; 

Who reigns forever, 

The Lord’s only Son. 

Now and for always, 

The great Prince of Peace; 

The Light of the world, 

Whose reign will not cease. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to us, so that we could be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for not recognizing the remarkable roles that You are willing and available to fill for all who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You reign in our hearts and lives forever. Show us how love those around us in a way that illuminates darkness with the hope and help of Your holy light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your power and Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

Wile I am in the world, I am the light of the world. – John 9:5

That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Called to Forgiveness

Come on now, let’s walk and talk; let’s work this out. Your wrong doings are blood red, but they can turn as white as snow. Your sins are red like crimson, but they can be made clean again like new wool. – (Isaiah 1:18, VOICE)

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as snow.” – (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)

 

God is constantly calling us unto Himself. He woos us when we go astray, and wants to lead us in the way we are meant to go so that we can be restored to right relationship with Him. Our part is to receive what He is offering – His forgiveness, His love, His light and His life, so that we may live free from the weight of our sin and shame. It is not a free pass to bounce back and forth, but it is the grace to restore our place of right standing before God when we mess up or find ourselves in a space we never intended to go. God is good and loves us no matter where we are or what condition our hearts and lives are in. If we call on Him, He will listen to our every cry. May we ever seek the Lord and receive the forgiveness and grace that He offers as we choose to place our trust in Him.

 

Seek walk with the Lord, Hope in Discouragement

For there, you’ll find grace;

Forgiveness of sins,

A right standing place.

All that we’ve done wrong,

Is made white as snow;

When confessed to God,

In His grace, we grow.

Where sins are no more,

We’re suddenly free;

To walk in His way,

His plan clearly seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and confess our sin before You, You forgive us and wash us clean as if we have never sinned. Thank You for the overwhelming power of Your forgiveness and grace, as You make us new in You. Forgive us for the times that we forget how much forgiveness has been extended to us, and are not gracious or merciful to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for forgiveness and for the ability to forgive others. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your mercy and grace, so that they may come to know and understand the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive and give the amazing grace that You give to us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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

Right by Grace

But we know that no one is made right with God by following the law. It is trusting in Jesus Christ that makes a person right with God. So we have put our faith in Jesus Christ, because we wanted to be made right with God. And we are right with Him because we trusted in Christ – not because we followed the law. I can say this because no one can be made right with God by following the law. – (Galatians 2:16, ERV)

 

I am so grateful for God’s grace. Imagine having to abide by a set of rules and regulations to somehow earn our salvation. If that were so, the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf would have been for naught. Sadly, there are those who still believe that they have to do enough, or be enough, to somehow earn God’s favor to gain access to eternity. Instead, Jesus came so that we could come to know and trust Him and be in right relationship with Him, personally, and through our faith move forward to that which we are called. As we know Him, we long to serve Him. It is not a prerequisite, but rather a response to the remarkable redemption that He has granted to all who choose receive what He freely gives. May we go forth in the grace that God grants us, and allow His love to transform us into people who live and love as He has shown us through His Son.

 

Salvation is found,not-defined-by-a-day

Through relationship;

As we receive grace,

We’re cleansed and equipped.

For we cannot earn,

Eternity’s crown;

By following laws,

Ultimate breakdown.

We must trust in Christ,

For He is the One;

Who makes us righteous,

As daughters and sons.

Let us place our faith,

Where all faith is due;

In Jesus our Lord,

Our hope ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not made right before You by following a set of rules and regulations. Thank You that it is through relationship with You, our Redeemer, that we are considered righteous before You – not by anything that we do or do not do, but rather through what You did for us on the cross. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do enough or be enough to somehow be qualified to come to You or serve You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always come as we are and allow You to pick us up, dust us off, and lead us where we are meant to go. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may come to know the amazing grace that You give to all who call on Your Name in faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our faith in You and trust You to make us right before You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Reconciled Through Christ

For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus. He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave the world at just the right time. – (1 Timothy 2:5-6, NLT)

 

Without Christ, there would be no reconciliation to a right relationship with God. The former ways of rituals and sacrifices, merely made man aware of our sin, rather than providing a permanent road to redemption. When Jesus came, everything changed. He who knew no sin, bore the weight of all that fractured the freedom between humanity and heaven, and opened the way for all to be restored unto righteousness once more.
Because Christ came and poured Himself out as an offering on our behalf, we have the freedom to live life rooted and established in Him. Help and hope are ours, both now and forevermore. May we receive the freedom that Christ has freely given, and by faith, walk out our days loving God and loving people according to His good and perfect plan.

 

Purchased for a price,Enter With Thanksgiving

this freedom we know;

through Christ’s sacrifice,

we take root and grow.

The old former ways,

needed sacrifice;

to just pacify,

but never suffice.

At just the right time,

God opened the way;

for people restored,

to openly pray.

Removed was the veil,

that kept us apart;

now we can come close,

have Christ in our heart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son, and the significance of what Jesus did through His life, death and resurrection for all who choose to believe. Thank You that Jesus removed the barrier between us, and that we can now come close and speak to You directly and know Your nearness for ourselves. Forgive us for not embracing the freedom that You have given in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would draw ever nearer to You, seeking Your help and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in a way that points their hearts to You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in the freedom of knowing Your nearness because of the love and sacrifice of Christ. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25