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

The Good in Good Friday

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us! – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TLB)

For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TPT)

 

This. This is the good that we celebrate on Good Friday. Jesus Christ, who had lived and served and loved without sin, willingly took all sin upon Himself and bore it on the cross, so that we would have a way to be right with God. Our sinfulness was exchanged for Christ’s righteousness. His sacrifice made the way for all who seek Him to become righteous before God. This holy exchange is the very thing that empowers God’s goodness to be evident in us. Christ’s love that made the way for us all to be restored unto God, is the good in Good Friday. May we each recognize with reverent awe, the enormity of the exchange that took place on our behalf.

 

One horrific day, The Good in Good Friday

A long time ago;

Christ went to the cross,

To make goodness known.

Upon that old cross,

Jesus bore all sin;

The wrongs of the world,

Were nailed upon Him.

The weight that He bore,

Was for you and I;

Though we were sinners,

He still chose to die.

Such a painful death,

So we could be free;

Covered with goodness,

Righteousness to see.

This is what is good,

On this dreadful day;

Death of our Savior,

Cause for Good Friday.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to take our place upon the cross. Thank You that His goodness covers all of our ugliness in Your eyes. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of the burden You bore on our behalf. Help us to see just how good, Good Friday is because of Your incredible love. Show us how to embrace the goodness You have given to us and empower us to love well, all those whom with we cross paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become aware of the incredible exchange of our sinfulness for Your righteousness, that make Good Friday so good. Amen.

 

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

 

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

Real Love

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Real love is that which comes from God. Before we even knew Him, He loved us. His love is so great that He chose to make the way for what had been fractured by our own sinfulness to be restored through the sending of His one and only Son. As we believe and receive the mercy and grace that God grants to all who seek Him, we grow in our own capacity to love as we are loved. May we ever remember the magnitude of His mercy that we have been shown, so that we might go forth and give grace as God has given to us.

 

The love of our God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Abundant in grace;

As He loved us first,

So we’d find our way.

The way to seek God,

Is open, secure;

Through His precious Son,

Our hope is made sure.

Remember the truth,

That God first loved us;

Forgiveness is ours,

When we trust Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real love comes from You, as You loved us so much that You sent Your Son so that our broken relationship with You could be restored. Forgive us for allowing anything or anyone other than You to set the standard for what love truly is meant to be. Teach us to trust You more, so that we allow Your love to surround and shape us into who You are calling us to become. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that many may come to see the truth of Your love. May hearts be stirred and lives be changed forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and go forth to love others likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Gift of Presence

I will make My home among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people. – (Ezekiel 37:27, NLT)

My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. – (Ezekiel 37:27, NIV)

 

Long before the arrival of Christ, God had His plan in place to make things right again so that He could dwell among us. Humanity had become so broken and disconnected from God, that the only way to be restored to a right relationship with Him, was through the sending of His Son. This season marks the celebration of Jesus’ arrival; the beginning of the relationship that restored us to our Redeemer. Without Christ, we would be limited to only drawing as near to God as the outer courts of the temple. However, because Christ came, we can invite Him to be Lord of our lives, and He will come and make His home in us and among us. He no longer is God out there, but He is now the Lord who is always near. May we fix our eyes and hearts on Him who came from heaven to earth to make the way for us to know His nearness, both now and forevermore.

 

From heaven on high,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

He came down to dwell;

So people might know,

The hope His life tells.

As we lift our eyes,

To the Lord above;

He calls us His own,

Showers with His love.

Let us fix our gaze,

This holy season;

On Christ born to us,

Our hope and reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it has always been Your plan to dwell among us. Thank You that despite our sinfulness and brokenness, You made the way to restore a right relationship with You through the sending of Your Son. Forgive us for not fixing our eyes on You and the reason for the season, as we get caught up in the chaos of things that “need” to get done. Help us to slow down and settle in, so that we may meditate on the real meaning and the weight of what You have done for us all. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads hope and points them to the path that leads to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the treasured gift of Your presence this most sacred season. 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

Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

God is not far off and unreachable, He is near – living among us. There is such reassurance in this. Beyond His nearness, He fights for us. The Lord calms our fears with His great love, and He delights in us. It is mind blowing to think that He, the Creator of ALL, would rejoice over us with joyful songs. Despite our doubts, our fears, our brokenness, and our sinfulness – He loves, and He is for us. May we hold fast to the truth of His word, trusting that He is near, He will fight for us, He delights in us, He will calm us with His love, and He will rejoice over us with singing.

 

No matter what comes,Enter With Thanksgiving

We need never fear;

For the Lord our God,

Is present, so near.

He’s mighty to save,

The battle is His;

He delights in us,

And does what He says.

The Lord will bring calm,

By His love, bring peace;

As His songs resound,

With joyful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You live among us. Thank You that You are not God out there, but rather You are as close as our next breath. Thank You that You fight on our behalf, and that You delight in us. Thank You that You calm all of our fears. Thank You that You sing over us with joy. Forgive us for forgetting all of these things, as they are the reassurance that can soothe even the most stirred of souls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You, as You are for us, and love us through whatever we face. Show us how to love others in the same way, so that Your comfort and calm is extended to those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the promise of Your presence, and listen with our hearts for the songs that You sing over us. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Faithfulness Forever

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth You created. – (Psalm 119:90, NLT)

You are loyal forever and ever. You made the earth and it still stands. – (Psalm 119:90, ERV)

 

David compared the faithfulness and loyalty of God to something tangible that we could grasp. Just as the earth endures, despite man’s destructive nature, so too does the faithful love of the Lord to those who call on His Name. God’s faithfulness did not end because of our sinfulness. Instead, He made the way for our relationship to be restored unto Himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. There is no greater love nor loyalty than that of one willing to lay down His life on our behalf. As I consider people in my own life, I am fiercely loyal to those whom I know care for either my children or for me. How much more invested ought my heart be in the One who laid down His life so that I could live? May we lay hold of the magnitude of the Lord’s faithfulness unto us, and respond in a way that demonstrates our gratitude.

 

May my heart embrace,Enter With Thanksgiving

Your great faithfulness;

The way that You love,

Grant life unto us.

Just as creation,

Forever endures;

So too, You’re faithful,

Throughout all our years.

Help us to receive,

These blessings from You;

So we may go forth,

And live life anew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to every generation, and that Your faithfulness does not end. Thank You that we can trust in You forever, as You have made the way for us to walk upright before You. Forgive us for not receiving all that You offer, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to walk in Your ways and live in Your truth. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and loyalty through how we care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful love forever. Amen.

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

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

Disciplined in Love

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. – (Revelation 3:19)

Just as a loving parent corrects and redirects a misguided child, so does our Heavenly Father do for us. It is because of His great love for us, that He does not allow us to stay stagnant in our sinfulness, nor remain rooted in wrong patterns. Christ came to cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and created the way for us to be called clean. Our charge is to come before Him and repent – to admit our wrong doing and turn away from that which pulled us away from the path which He has placed before us. Any time that we feel that nudge of the Holy Spirit, the check from His still small voice, we must listen and act with fidelity so that we do not become steeped in the snare of sin. May we trust our loving Lord, who is our Heavenly Father, as He loves us and only rebukes and disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to walk out the very best that He has for us. His plans are exceedingly greater than we could ever hope for or imagine.

Because we are loved,Compassion in Confrontations

let us hear His voice;

for He will correct,

when we make poor choice.

He’ll show us the way,

to walk where He calls;

to escape the space,

of sin’s prison walls.

We must choose repent,

confess, turn away;

admit wrong doing,

return to His way.

Trust in our Father,

His love never ends;

His plans are righteous,

as He forgives sins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we may not enjoy being rebuked nor disciplined, You do so in love and for our benefit. Thank You that You love us so much that You do not sit idly by and allow us to stay stuck in our sinfulness. Thank You that You call us out of darkness into Your glorious light. Forgive us for our resistance to correction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be earnest to repent as soon as we become aware of what You are asking us to do. Help us to embrace with grace, every correction that You bring, as we know that all discipline from You brings us closer to that whom You are calling us to become. Help us to love others with generosity and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your correction in love, and repent right away so that we may move forward into that which You are calling us to do. 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

Righteousness Through Love

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. – (Proverbs 14:34)

 

Righteousness, to be right before God, requires that we do as the Lord calls us to do. God does not call us to condemn, but rather, He calls us to love. The greatest command is this: to love God and love one another. Our lack of love towards God or each other is a sin, and that will be our downfall. If we have a neighbor in need, and are too busy looking at what is wrong in the world to make right what is before us and within reach, we are not walking in love. May we rise up and reach out to those standing before us, and extend the same love that the Lord has given unto us. It is in His love, that we will be walking in righteousness before Him, lest we stand condemned in our own prideful sin.

 

There’s only one way,Asking for Amazing Answers

to walk righteously;

to love as God loves,

so trapped are set free.

Not one who is stuck,

in the mire of sin;

will want to get out,

if they feel condemned.

We must offer love,

with God’s endless grace;

so those who are lost,

may soon see His face.

Let our lives model,

compassion and love;

so pursuing God,

is sought far above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You exalt those who walk right before You, but condemn those who stay in sin. Father forgive us for our sinfulness and our self-righteousness. Forgive us for not loving as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will reach out to the need that is before us, and choose to love as You love us. Lead us to those who are in need, and show us how You would have us love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your loving kindness is made evident before them, again and again. Be glorified O God, as we choose to walk out our days, loving You and loving people, as You have called us to do. 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 25:6

Bestowing the Best of News

What is the best news you have heard in recent months? For me, a recurring theme is new lives are on the way. I have several friends who are expecting. The anticipation and preparation paired with dear ones readying their hearts and homes to welcome new tiny wonders, is some of my favorite sort of news.

 

The great news of hope in Christ, should carry even more enthusiasm. Not only does coming into a relationship with Him bring new life, but it is a life that is everlasting in Christ’s presence! Jesus takes our brokenness and sinfulness, and heals and restores so that we are whole and considered righteous before Him. Christ’s love is so transformational, it should be a struggle to stay silent about all the wonders He has done. Just as Peter and John replied to the Sanhedrin when ordered to stop speaking and teaching about Christ, so too should our response be the same. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) May we go forth in wonder, sharing of all that He has done.

 

The great news of Christ,

My own tiny blessings a few years ago... <3

My own tiny blessings a few years ago… ❤

a message of hope;

He removes our stains,

and leads as we lope.

A wondrous exchange,

our sin for His grace;

His love that transforms,

bright light in dark space.

How can we not speak,

of what we have heard;

in Him we have hope,

our future, secured.

Let us all go forth,

with great joy, speak out;

point all to the Lord,

the One secure route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the best news we have ever received. Thank You that in You, we have forgiveness, grace, love, joy, peace, hope, and so much more! Thank You that You welcome all who come with repentant hearts seeking after You. Forgive us for staying silent when Your truth needed to be told. Grant us boldness, so that we will speak of what we have seen and heard as You call us to share, and give us wisdom to know how much or how little You would have for us to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be still before You, listening intently for Your voice to whisper words to our heart. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they cannot help but see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we love and serve those around us. Be glorified O God, as we speak of the great news we have in You. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14