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

Clothed From Within

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, ERV)

Let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:4, VOICE)

 

I am noticing that the older I get, the more I recognize the people I view as most “beautiful” are those from whom a gentle and quiet spirit radiates the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father. The heart adorns the external and directly influences how my eyes perceive the person before me. Beauty begins on the inside. May we ever focus on that which comes from within – the spirit placed within us that is called to be gentle and still before Him, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by Him.

 

Let our focus be, Ambassadors of Love

On beauty within;

The quiet, sweet space,

That keeps us from sin. 

The Lord God, Himself,

Delights when we’re still;

He refines in love,

By grace, shows His will.

In calm gentleness,

Let’s fix eyes on Him;

Love cleanses each heart,

And brings beauty in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see a quiet and gentle spirit as beautiful. Thank You that Your view of beauty is from the inside out. Thank You that You make beautiful things out of us as we choose to follow You. Forgive us for the ugliness of our selfishness and twisted perception of what truly matters. Teach us to trust You more as we quiet our hearts in stillness before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize the beauty that You have created within them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we aspire to be people that possess beautiful hearts, bearing gentle and quiet spirits toward all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

 

 

 

 

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

 

The Greatest Gift

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. – (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into the world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately, He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. – (Galatians 4:4-5, VOICE)

 

God knew that humanity needed a Savior. For most, the law was a list of do and do not from a distance out of fear and reverence, rather than being rooted in relationship. The arrival of Jesus changed everything. God out there, became God is here. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension gave way for us to be adopted into God’s family as His children. No more are we simply subjects attempting obedience out of fear, but rather we are children of the Most High, saved by grace and dearly loved. From this position of freedom, it is difficult not to desire to do what is pleasing to the very One who set us free. May we rise up and recognize the sacrifice that was given so that we could be free, and walk out our days honoring God with our words, deeds and praise.

 

God saw all our need, The Greatest Gift

And set forth a plan;

Redemption and grace,

By His loving hands.

Hands that chose to send,

His beloved Son;

To bear all the weight,

Of what we have done.

Freely He took on,

All our ugliness;

So we may be called,

His in righteousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You saw mankind’s need for a Savior and sent Your Son to redeem us. Thank You that not only do You forgive us of all of our sin, but You adopt us as sons and daughters of Your own. Thank You that You lovingly receive all who come seeking You. Forgive us for forgetting the magnitude of Your sacrifice to be called sons and daughters. Teach us to treasure the gifts of Your mercy and grace far more than we do. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the same sort of mercy and grace to others, so that they might see glimpses of You through the good we give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the greatest gift ever given through the sending of Your Son. Amen.

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

 

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

Hope in Discouragement

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! – (Psalm 42:5, NLT)

Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again praise Him, your God, the One who will save you.” – (Psalm 42:5, ERV)

Why are you so down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. – (Psalm 42:5, MSG)

 

It is difficult to take in the recent events in our nation, and not feel sad and discouraged. Yet, even in the darkness of such ugliness, good has been burning bright in incredible ways. When the need for blood donations was presented to the people of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, generous hearts lined up in droves. Help is being provided in a place where it is typically lacking, as it is needed most. Additionally, there have been numerous stories of individuals placing themselves in harm’s way to help those in need in the midst of this tragic event. When I see the good that rose up in people who helped because they knew that they could not just standby and do nothing – I am encouraged and remember that God is our hope and our reason to praise. He moves hearts to act with love and compassion, and despite the darkness that is in the world, God is always good. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, as He is the One who saves and is worthy of all of our praise.

 

When I’m discouraged, Hope in Discouragement

And my heart is sad;

Help me hope again,

Lord, make my heart glad.

Glad for Your goodness,

For Your light and grace;

Praise for salvation,

Our hope in this place.

Lord, help us to see,

Where to fix our eyes;

As we look to You,

All hope’s realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the darkness that befalls us and our nation, You are always good. Thank You that You demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness through the grace and love of people. Father, please be with the first responders, the officers, the medical teams and all those impacted by what took place in Las Vegas. Your healing hands are needed more than ever. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to that which overwhelms us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask of You what we are meant to do – be it to give, pray, or go do more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, especially in the places where Your light seems to be lacking. 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

Be Not Blinded

But whoever hates their brother or sister is in darkness. They live in darkness. They don’t know where they are going, because the darkness has made them blind. – (1 John 2:11, ERV)

 

If we are in Christ, we cannot allow our hearts to hold hate toward anyone. To live a life in the Lord is to remain in the light of His love. There is no room for hate and love to coexist. As the Lord’s love fills us, we must let go of the ugliness we harbor towards others. When we grant darkness space to occupy our hearts and minds, the truth becomes hidden and we no longer see what is right. However, if we choose to fill our hearts and minds with the light of the love of Christ, there is no room for darkness and we begin to see others through the lens of His loving eyes. Yes, there are times when there is reason for righteous anger, but never a reason for hate. We need the Lord’s help and wisdom to keep from allowing hurt and bitterness to find a foothold, so that we give all to God, trusting that He is good and just. May we give every darkness to God, so the light of His love may shine true.

 

Oh Lord help our hearts,When My Soul Waits

Keep darkness away;

Allow no hatred,

To come near and stay.

God fill us anew,

With Your loving light;

So darkness in us,

Will quickly take flight.

Help us always choose,

Your love and Your light;

So that we love well,

In You, do what’s right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You called us out of darkness into Your loving light. Thank You that You fill us anew with the light of Your love, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for allowing darkness to dwell within us, as anger or bitterness sometimes gets the best of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give all of our anger, hurt and frustrations to You, so that they do not gain a foothold in our hearts. Keep darkness far from us, I pray. Show us how to live in the light of Your love, so that we love well, all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to shine Your light through us as we love others well. Amen.

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

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

Nothing Can Separate

So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loves us. – (Romans 8:35, VOICE)

 

Inevitably, there will be times that life grows difficult. Trials come, and none of us are immune. However, when we walk with Christ, the struggles we face are met by His grace, as He loves us through it all. Nothing that comes against us can take away the love that Christ has for us, and in Him, we can rest assured that the ultimate victory is ours. Our hope lies not in the here and now, but rather in our eternity with Him. Yes, He can do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine in our lives today, but more than that, He holds all of our tomorrows in His hands. He is good, and He is for us. Despite the ugliness and brokenness that we must endure on earth, we have the hope of what is yet to come, where there will be no more suffering, pain nor sorrow. May we cling to Christ, who will never leave us nor forsake us, and trust in His love that will lead us home.

 

There’s nothing on earth,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

that can separate;

us from God’s great love,

no height, depth, nor weight.

Trouble nor danger,

angst nor poverty;

no, there is nothing,

that God does not see.

For those who love God,

there‘s hope yet to see;

no matter what comes,

Christ brings victory.

So rest safe assured,

even in trials;

His grace is enough,

for the longest miles.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reassurance that there is NOTHING that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that though we go through difficulties and trials, You are with us, and You are for us. Thank You that though we know not how long the season will last, we have the assurance that the ultimate victory is ours in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of fight in the throes of the struggle. Teach us to trust You more so that we would rise up and endure with Your strength, rather than our own. Show us how to love and support those around us who are in the midst of their own difficulties. May many come to a place of depending on You. Be exalted O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love, no matter what comes our way. 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

Cleanliness From the Inside Out

“Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’.” – (Mark 7:15)

Our “cleanliness“, which is how we are seen through the eyes of our Savior, is not dependent on what we eat or drink, but rather on what we do and say. The words we speak and deeds that we do, determine whether we are in right standing with God. If we are walking with Him, our words will represent well, our Redeemer who dwells within us. However, if we are opting to be ruled by our own evil thoughts, then the ugliness that escapes, makes us unclean. May we choose to tend well to that which we feed to our hearts and minds, so that all that comes out of us is a clear reflection of our radiant Redeemer.

It’s not what we eat,Clean Inside Out

that makes us unclean;

but rather our words,

and unkind acts seen.

For the Lord calls us,

to represent well;

His Name as His kids,

our words and deeds tell.

Let us choose wisely,

what we do and say;

as our righteousness,

is shown in this way.

May we all tend well,

our hearts and our minds;

so that which escapes,

is righteous and kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our righteousness is not determined by what we eat or drink, but rather by that which we say and do. Thank You that our words and deeds are not directed by us alone when we invest our hearts in relationship with You. Forgive us for allowing our own evil thoughts to rule our words or actions, and teach us to trust You more, so that we depend more fully on You to keep our hearts and minds free from the fuel that leads to ugliness. Lead us to love others as You so generously and completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we allow You to cleanse us from the inside out, so that all that comes out of us is a radiant reflection of You. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Good Gifts

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? – (Luke 11:13)

 

Despite our flawed and sinful nature, I imagine all of us give the best gifts we can offer to others. If we, in our ugliness can give good gifts, how much more is the Lord willing to give that which He has promised? Christ came and bore our sin and shame upon the cross. He took our place, so that we could live a life restored in Him. The gift of His Holy Spirit is what He promised to send once He returned to His rightful place in heaven. To receive the Holy Spirit, we must invite Him in. May we be ready to receive all that He offers, as we ask Him to be present and hold fast to His promises.

 

If we give good gifts,Good Gifts

despite sinful self;

how much more will God,

bless us from His wealth?

He sent His own Son,

so that we might live;

and when He returned,

His Spirit to give.

All that He offers,

His love and His grace;

ours for the taking,

when we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give good gifts to us, Your children. Thank You that when we come to You and invite Your presence into our lives, You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for not seeking You, or for not embracing the good gifts that You give to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we too, will extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the good gifts You give all around us. Be glorified O God, as we seek to give and receive the gifts You grant. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8