Draw Near with True Hearts

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, NIV)

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So, come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. – (Hebrews 10:22, ERV)

Let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, VOICE)

Christ made coming to God possible. Through His sacrifice, once and for all, we have full assurance that the price has already been paid for our sins. Because we have been washed clean from the inside out, when we draw near to God and receive what He freely offers, we can confidently enter into His presence and communicate with the nearness of a loving Father and friend. May we readily receive what Christ gives by His glorious grace, and draw near to the Lord with faith, as we are fully known.

 

One great sacrifice,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Made way for us all;

To become washed clean,

Be heard when we call.

What Christ did for us,

Is ours to receive;

By faith, to lay hold,

All hope we believe.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts that embrace;

The gift of new life,

Through God’s lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus, thank You for taking on all of our sin and shame, so that we could be made clean and worthy to approach the throne of God. Forgive us for taking Your sacrifice for granted, or for somehow thinking it could not possibly cover the weight of our own ugliness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the grace that You have so generously given, and never forget the ultimate price that You paid on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize Your grace and love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of grace that You freely give, and continue to come close to You so that we will know how to best walk according to Your will. Amen.

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

For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:19

 

Bold Grace

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

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)

 

Shame is a horribly heavy burden, especially when others have helped add weight to that which is constantly carried. Each time I have a conversation with someone who feels as if there is not a place for them to plug into a church, either because of their past or due to their current circumstances, my heart breaks a bit more. If we are truly loving God and loving people, shouldn’t we have open arms to all who choose to wander our way? Yes, there are precautions and wisdom that need be established for safety (we cannot be unwise) but we all have sinned and fallen short, so we are all equally eligible for the grace of God. His mercy and kindness are the very things that remove the burdens that we are not meant to bear. When we love people well, it often is the nudge needed for them to recognize that they are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace. May we seek our Savior with open hearts and arms to receive His mercy and grace, so that we may in turn, go forth and extend the same to those around us.

 

Let us boldly go, Bold Grace

To the throne of grace;

Where God in mercy,

Our shame shall erase.

The weight we carry,

In love, He removes;

As His help He brings,

And faithfulness proves.

Choose ever seek God,

Go straight to His throne;

Give as He gives us,

So His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to bear the weight of all of our sin and shame. Thank You that because of Your sacrifice, we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to receive mercy and help whenever we need it. Forgive us for not extending the same mercy and grace to those around us that we have been given by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and without basing our love on what has or has not been done by those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly to Your throne of grace to receive Your mercy and extend the same to others. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. Amen. 

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

He Grows Us in Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. – (Philippians 1:6, TLB) 

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE) 

 

God is not finished with us yet. When we choose to walk with Him, He refines us from the inside out. Our sin and shame are removed, and He shows us how to walk in His way as He grows His grace within us. None of us ever “arrive”, as we all are a work in progress until our final day when we at last meet Him face-to-face. May we rise up and remember that He who began the good work within us will continue to carry it out to completion. 

 

The good God began, He Grows Us in Grace

Is not finished yet; 

Each works in progress, 

Daybreak to sunset. 

It is a process, 

For our whole life long; 

He grows us in grace, 

And makes our hearts strong. 

Refined from within, 

Sin and shame removed; 

Love lavished on us, 

As goodness is proved. 

Let us choose rise up, 

In love, opt do good; 

Rely on His help, 

To do all we should. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who began a good work in us will continue until it is completed on the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You grow us in Your grace so that we may go forth and love as You love us. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to grow Your grace within us so that we are able to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends the same good that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest assured that You will continue to grow Your grace within us as we seek You until we one day see You face-to-face. Amen. 

 

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

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

Live Right by His Light

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, NLT)

Christ carried our sins in His body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you were healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, ERV)

 

As I continue to contemplate the cross and Easter, and everything that this week means, a portion of this morning’s read reminds us why Jesus did what He did. He chose to bear the weight of the world’s sin, so that all might have the choice to live for what is right. No excuses, no burdens of the bad that we have been – Jesus bore them all on the cross so that we could be healed and set free. It is in our discovering of this freedom from the weight of our own unworthiness, that we begin to grasp the greatness of our Savior’s sacrifice and the depth of His decision to love. May we each embrace the gift of grace that God has given, and walk forward in the freedom found through the sacrifice the Savior made on our behalf.

 

Christ carried our sins,Live Right by His Light

On His body, bore;

The weight of the world,

To be veiled, no more.

No longer removed,

By our sin and shame;

For Christ took it all,

Truth we can now claim.

By His very wounds,

We each have been healed;

So we can live right,

As truth is revealed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfathomable gift that You gave as You sent Your Son to carry the cross for our sin. Thank You Jesus for showing us what a life of love looks like first, and then going on and bearing the burden of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we could have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for continuing to sink into sin, and help us to seek You to show us the way to live right. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love in a way that brings light into darkness, so that all might see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the gift of grace that we have been given, and look to You to live right. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

A Tangible Display

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display – the Anointed One died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, VOICE)

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. – (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)

 

As we draw ever nearer to Easter, it is good to set our sights on what this season is all about. Each time I take pause and read anything related to what Christ came and did for me, I am in awe of the greatness of His goodness and His grace. Who willingly lays down their life to save another, when the very one being saved is against them? Before we knew Christ, He loved us. Prior to making a choice to invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He laid His down for us. While we were yet sinners, He came and bore the weight of all of our sin and shame so that we could be forgiven and free, and have life everlasting in Him. There is no greater love than He who willingly gave everything so that we could be made right before God and have eternal life. May the power of Christ’s life-raising love fill our hearts and minds, and lead us as we consider the weight of this wonderful week.

 

Stuck in the darkness,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Still shrouded in sin;

Christ came and He gave,

Love made the way in.

Though few might choose die,

For those who are good;

Only Christ the Lord,

In our place, He stood.

He bore such a weight,

Sin and shame of all;

So we could be free,

And on His Name call.

What powerful love,

Such wonder He is;

The truth and the life,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, while we were still sinners, far from You, to give His life for ours. Forgive us for not recognizing the weight of what You did for us so that we could have life everlasting in You. Help us to grasp the magnitude of Your mercy and the greatness of Your grace as we walk out this week leading to Easter. Show us how to love those around us with the very same mercy and grace that we have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You have freely given, and go forth in freedom to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

Palm Sunday

Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!” – (Mark 11:9, NLT)

Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in God’s Name! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven! – (Mark 11:9, MSG)

 

Today is Palm Sunday. This is the day that we remember Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just days prior to the last supper, the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, the crucifixion, and ultimately, His resurrection. On Palm Sunday, as He returned to Jerusalem, Jesus was actually welcomed as the One who saves. People praised God as He passed by, threw palm branches before Him, and even their own cloaks so that Christ would not walk on the filth of a regular road. Jesus was given the honor that was due, yet the hearts of the people were still not quite grasping how His reign would come to be. They wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman rulers right then and there, rather than reign in their hearts and rescue them from their sin and shame. God’s ways are far greater than ours, and it is often difficult to grasp the greater good when we want immediate relief. May we ever remember that despite what we see, God has our very best in mind. He sees and He knows what is and will be, and His ways are higher and greater than ours.

 

Triumphal entry,Palm Sunday

All honor is due;

To the God who saves,

All praise unto You.

Let us ever praise,

Despite what we see;

Your ways are higher,

Help me trust in Thee.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That all’s in Your hands;

You take willing hearts,

And lead in Your plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that like the people of Jerusalem, though we might not fully understand what You have in mind, our hearts long to give You praise. Thank You that You show us Your will and Your way, and strengthen and equip us to do as You say. Forgive us for the times that we run the wrong direction in search of security or relief, when You are all we need to successfully navigate every obstacle and trial. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You, trusting Your way, despite what we see, as whatever we go through here and now is temporary in comparison to our eternity that is to come. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they may see the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember the magnitude of the sacrifice You made for us. 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

Mercy Will Meet Us

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

 

I am so thankful for the forgiveness and love that are ever available in Christ. We do not have to jump through hoops to prove ourselves repentant enough, or somehow worthy of love. Instead, God calls us to come before Him, just as we are, and be transparent before Him. He already knows all that we have and have not done, and His love is not determined by our own “worthiness“. Christ already paid the price for our sin and shame, and is willing and ready to forgive, if only we choose to ask. He loves us because we are His created, not because we have done “enough” or have become “enough“. In this beautifully busy season, this is just the reminder that I need. Daily, I need to call on Him for help, for forgiveness, and for grace, as I cannot do all and be all that is expected of me on my own. His love is generous; in His kindness, He will meet us in our need. May we ever look to the Lord for His mercy and help, as His love and grace are poured out upon all who call on His Name.

 

O Lord, You are good,IMG_2491

Forgiving and kind;

I am so grateful,

That Your love is mine.

As I call on You,

You’re faithful to hear;

Whatever my need,

As You remain near.

Thank You for the grace,

That You ever give;

Your help and Your hope,

Life to truly live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You for help. Thank You that You love us to life, and provide help and hope so that we may move in the direction we have been called. Forgive us for not crying out to You for help when we are in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in all things, as You are generous and loving, wanting what is best for us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends goodness and mercy in the same way that it has been given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help, trusting Your goodness and mercy to meet us in all things and at all times. 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

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

Wages vs. Gifts

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 6:23, NIV)

The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift – eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 6:23, VOICE)

 

In our natural state of sinfulness, we deserve death. Not even the kindest and most gentle of individuals is without sin. The consequence for such, is death. However, God sent His Son to extend to us, the opportunity to choose life – life everlasting in Him. There is nothing that we can do to earn this gift that He gives, but rather we must choose to receive what is being freely offered. When we choose Christ, we choose life. We are not promised pain-free pleasantries each day of our lives in the here and now, but in Him, we have the glorious hope of our future freedom from all such things, for all of eternity with Christ. There is no greater gift than He who laid down His life for our sin and shame, so that we could have life abundant in Him. May we receive all that He is offering, as we walk into this weekend of remembering not only His death on our behalf, but Christ’s resurrection from the grave that could not contain Him, so that we could enter eternity with Him.

 

Though we deserve death,Good Gifts

He’s given to us;

the gift of His Son,

life in Christ Jesus.

When we choose receive,

new life becomes ours;

where hope is our truth,

and Love empowers.

Let us choose embrace,

this gift given free;

so all may come know,

Christ dwelling in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we deserve death for our sinfulness, You made way for our lives to be redeemed through the gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for dying in my place, so that I might come to know the truth of who You are, and how You love. Thank You for the hope that we hold forever in You. Forgive us for not living with an eternal perspective, as all in the here and now will one day fade away. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we will see things through Your lens. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the gift of life that You freely give. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7