The Throne of Grace

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

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

When All Seemed Silent

But He never left them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. – (Acts 14:17, NLT)

 

When Paul and Barnabas were sharing the good news in Lystra, and the people began to be misguided and were not recognizing and giving credit where credit was due, Paul reminded them of the great things that God had done for them in the past, and how He was continuing to make His presence known. The same still holds true today. Every blessing and good and perfect gift, comes from our Father above. Though not one of us particularly enjoy seasons of struggle, they tend to help us recognize and appreciate all the more, the glorious gifts and boundless blessings that God so generously gives to us. As we sit for a moment in silence on this Saturday, when so many years ago they were celebrating a most somber Sabbath, we can give thanks, for we know the hope that tomorrow holds. The grave could not contain Christ. Blessing beyond what anyone could have fathomed was on the way, and oh the joy that all would know in but one more day! May we all take pause to recognize the blessings that God has given us; our family and friends, our surroundings, freedoms, employment, homes, hope, health, and more than anything, the promise of eternal life with Him.

 

As I look around,Hope in What is Unseen

It is plain to see;

Evidence of God,

And His love for me.

He’s given me life,

Hope, faith, love and joy;

All things that I need,

And two baby boys.

Even in heartache,

His presence stays near;

His peace gives me hope,

And chases off fear.

Wherever I go,

I can’t help but see;

The glory of God,

In all before me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us evidence of Yourself everywhere we go. Thank You that we can see You in the beauty of Your creation around us, as well as in the eyes of the people that You place in our lives. Thank You for the love, peace and joy that You give, as we come to grasp the glory of our hope in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distract us from the hope we know, or keep us from giving You glory for all of the good that we know in You. Teach us to trust You more, for just as all seemed silent on that Sabbath, the very next day – You rose and nothing was ever the same again! Show us how to love in a way that offers hope and peace and joy to those who cannot see any. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the evidence of Your goodness everywhere we go. 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

He is Risen

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. – (Luke 24:1-3,  NLT)
The very same women who had stood at the foot of the cross in horror on Friday, then set to task making burial spices that night, were stuck staying in their space of sorrow on the Sabbath, and now, at last on Sunday, as they thought that they could go and anoint the body of their beloved Savior – discovered He was no longer in the grave! Panic gave way to praise as the angels of the Lord explained to the women what had happened and why Jesus was no longer lying in the tomb. Recalling the truth that they had been told by Jesus before His death on the cross, the ladies rushed back to tell the other believers what they had discovered. As we awaken to the truth that today holds, may we feel the same sense of urgency to go and let the truth be made known.

 

A matter of days,Hope in an Empty Tomb

and everything changed;

a sorrowful space,

now all rearranged.

Where death had seemed reign,

the truth became clear;

hell was defeated,

through Christ coming near.

He took on the cross,

all our sin and shame;

laid it in the grave,

set free by His pain.

It did not end there,

on Sunday He rose;

up out of the grave,

so His grace, we’d know.

Jesus has risen,

and we are set free;

forgiven and loved,

all praise unto Thee.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to have a restored relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for taking all of our sin and shame upon Yourself, so that we might have life everlasting. Thank You that it did not end at the cross, for the grave could not hold You, as Your love is too great for us, Your created. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your love and sacrifice that is given freely unto us. Teach us to embrace all that You give, so that we might have life abundant in You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to understand the greatness of Your mercy and grace that You freely give. May many choose to place all of their trust in You. Be exalted O God, as we give all glory and honor to You. Amen.

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

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

Rest As Required

They went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint His body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. – (Luke 23:56, NLT)

 

The women who had faithfully followed Jesus and watched in sorrow as He breathed His last breath on the cross, were without many options as to what they might actually be able to do in response to such a seeming tragedy. The only role they knew was to faithfully prepare that which would grant their Savior a proper burial. I imagine they worked feverishly and with painstaking care, to finish the preparations in hope of going to the tomb right away, prior to their required rest. Sabbath sunrise arrived just after their work was done, and the ladies were left in a holding pattern of not yet.

How often do we too, in our seeming inability to do anything to help a situation, resort to that which we know, only to get to a place where we hit a wall, and find that we are stuck in a space of waiting or not yet? Often, it is much like it was for the women. Sunday is yet to come. That which is ahead, is exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, even if it is something that has been promised before. Christ had told those who were faithful followers of His that He would rise, yet something about His foretelling did not ever really register with any of them. Often our places of pause or required rest, are strategically spaced just prior to a promise fulfilled or movement of a miracle. May we seek the Lord in our spaces of Sabbath, and simply rest in the assurance that He is good and His faithfulness never ends.

 

In that restless space,Confidence Comes Through Christ

when we hit the wall;

we can’t move forward,

on Him, let us call.

Ever so often,

that‘s the very place;

where He intended,

that we seek His face.

It’s in the seeking,

that we come to find;

His help and His hope,

He’s patient and kind.

Often the forced pause,

that space where we rest;

a season to find,

what‘s coming is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present and moving, even when it seems that we have hit a wall or come to a place of helplessness where we can do nothing more. Thank You that this is the very space where You bring us to rest in You. Thank You that You showed us that things were still and silent, and the world had to wait for the promise to be fulfilled, just as You had said it would be. Thank You for the difference that the next day brought. Forgive us for resisting rest when it seems to be required, or for not making time to sit quietly before You to fix our eyes on You and all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, regardless of how things appear. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may look to You in the quiet stillness where rest is found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You on our Sabbaths, and trust You in our spaces of waiting. 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

Seen and Known

When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” – (Luke 13:12)

A woman who had been crippled for eighteen years, to the point where she could not straighten up at all, happened to be in one of the synagogues on a Sabbath when Jesus was teaching. Jesus, in His love and compassion, saw the woman’s need, and called to her personally, and spoke aloud words of healing, wholeness and new life, right then and there. I imagine a woman who was never able to truly make eye contact with anyone because of her condition, yet here she was, called forward, by the Savior on the Sabbath. Did hope that had all but died at last rise up again as she made her way to the front? I envision that may have been the case, for her response to being healed was to “…immediately straighten up and praise God.” (vs. 13)

Jesus sees us in the same way. He knows our needs before we ask, and loves us so much, that He exchanged His life for ours. I wonder if the woman wrestled with the question of whether or not she should go forward where Jesus called? For many of us, that is the very thing that stands between us and that which Jesus is waiting to do in us or through us. We have to be willing to step forward where we are called, even in the moments of uncertainty. His plans for us are far greater than we could ever hope or imagine, so it is worth walking forward in obedience to where we are called. May we move when He says move, and stand tall and give Him praise both now and forevermore.

Bent over and bound,Truth that is Tangible

we all have been there;

weighed down by the weight,

of all of life’s cares.

Each with hidden needs,

known well by the Lord;

Who’s willing to heal,

all grace He’ll afford.

It takes open ears,

a heart to respond;

as He calls our name,

His love goes beyond.

Beyond what we lack,

to our place of need;

in Him we are healed,

from burdens, we’re freed.

All glory to God,

Who sits on the throne;

He sets people free,

from bondage they’ve known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are, and know our every need. Thank You that we matter to You. Thank You that You call to us to come before You, so that You can heal us where we need it most. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for not willingly walking forward when You call us to come. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the giver of good gifts. Lead us to love others with the same kindness and compassion that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we willingly walk forward where You call, and give You praise all the while. 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

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

Risking Reputation to Do Right

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. – (Mark 15:43)

 

Just after Jesus had breathed His last breath on the cross, Joseph, a secret follower of Christ, knew he had a decision to make. Either he himself ought to step up and do what he was able to do to give Jesus a proper burial, or Jesus’ body would be left for the Romans to deal with, as no Jew would dare do anything with His body on the Sabbath. By going before Pilate to make his request, Joseph was exposing his faith for all to see. He had clearly come to a point where his desire to do right, outweighed his fear of being found out. Today, Joseph is the only actual name of any of the Sanhedrin that I’ve ever known. His decision to honor Christ, regardless of what it would do to his reputation, made him among those who are greatly admired in the history of our faith. We are called to do likewise. Doing right before God must be our priority, rather than worrying about our reputation before mankind. He calls us to obedience, not notoriety. If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels. – (Mark 8:38) May we move forward in the light of His grace, walking in obedience to all that He is asking. Let us throw off every hindrance that causes fear of man or risk of ruining a reputation, and rise up to do right. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. – (1 John 2:5a)

 

No matter the risk,May We Love Much

nor the fear of man;

let us do what’s right,

in Christ’s strength we can.

For there is no man,

who can take away;

our eternal hope,

in Christ where we stay.

Men may choose slander,

with words they attack;

yet God is our strength,

we need not look back.

May we choose be bold,

stand firm in the truth;

righteous before God,

embraced and made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the ultimate example of risking reputation and doing right before You. Though He was slandered and accused, He was without sin; choosing to die for each of us who placed accusations upon Him. Thank You for loving us far more than our mere minds can comprehend. Forgive us for worrying more about our reputation than about doing what is right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may choose to do right, regardless of what others think of our decisions. Lead us to love as You so generously love each of us, and may many come to know that the rewards of following You, far outweigh the risks. Be glorified, O God, as we do right, regardless of the risk to our reputations. 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

Do What You Can Do

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:55:56)

 

What stands out to me about these women, was that though they could not go and speak out on the Lord’s behalf before the Roman government or Jewish council when Jesus had been on trial because women we not permitted to do such things at that time, they did the things that they could do. They followed Jesus, even as He was taking His final steps to the site of the cross. As He hung in agony, they did not flee, but stood near, watching, waiting. After He breathed His last breath, the faithful women followed Joseph with Jesus’ body, so that they would know where He had been laid, so that Christ’s body could be properly preserved with spices and perfumes. To the ladies, their faithful acts may have seemed small and insignificant, yet clearly to Christ, they had great value. In fact, I imagine that their devotion had much to do with them being the first to see the risen Lord. May we each be faithful to the tasks that we are called to do, regardless of how we view them. What may seem insignificant to us, could actually be monumental in the eyes of the Lord.

 

Whatever we do,Consistent Character2

let it be with grace;

may our hearts be right,

as we run our race.

May we serve with joy,

and honor the King;

may our every breath,

be an offering.

No task is too small,

to honor the One;

Who grants us new life,

through His only Son.

May our hands and hearts,

continually seek;

to love and to serve,

Your words, help us speak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our hearts, and You love us where we are. Thank You that when we seek to serve You, You meet us and equip us and bless us with Your presence. Thank You that You love and forgive, the moment we ask. Forgive us for the times that we scatter, or for thinking the things that we faithfully do everyday, don’t matter. Help us to fix our eyes securely on You, and to focus on loving You and loving people. May many come to know You and Your loving kindness as we are obedient to who You have called us to be. Let the lost be found in You. Be exalted, O God, as we are faithfully devoted to You in all things. Amen.

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

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

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