The Second Day at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “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.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. – (Matthew 27:62-66, NIV)

That day was the day called Preparation Day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive He said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that He has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about Him before.” Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it. – (Matthew 27:62-66, ERV)

 

The somber silence of Saturday, was really not so silent at all. Behind the scenes, those who had accused, tried and crucified Jesus, were now scrambling to make certain that what He had foretold, would not in any way, appear to be the truth. It is almost comical to imagine the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate as they have their troubled exchanges, as all the while, the disciples are grieving their loss. Stealing the body was likely the furthest thing from their mind. Mary and Martha were waiting to attend to His body, to further treat it properly for burial, but taking His body from the tomb… Eww… What I love most of all about this short passage of scripture, is that Jesus’ accusers took such care to be certain the tomb was guarded and secure from the outside, yet could not control the miracle that was taking place on the inside. Can you imagine the shock and awe that was to come for the soldiers sent to guard the tomb? Soldiers who were to be wary of those who would come near the tomb, would suddenly find themselves face to face with an angel of the Lord, and then the risen Christ himself, less than twenty-four hours later. Jesus was not a liar nor a deceiver. He is the truth, the way and the life. All who choose come to Him, may know love and life everlasting in Him. Though Saturday was somewhat silent, Sunday was on its way!

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us Your goodness, grace and power. Thank You that You demonstrated Your incredible love for us as You willingly went to the cross and died the death that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven and know life in You. Thank You that the grave was not the end. Thank You that hope rises, and that Sunday is coming for all. Forgive us for allowing our sorrows and grief to feel hopeless and helpless in the tomb of our heart. Thank You that You do Your miraculous work from within, so how things appear do not matter in order for You to move. Show us how to love in ways that offer hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is ready to rise, each day, because of the third day at the tomb. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

Way Maker

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? – (Romans 8:32, MSG)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

 

More than anyone, God understands sacrifice and suffering. In fact, because He chose the ultimate sacrifice for us all, no one is left to face life alone, and though we will endure trials and hardships in this life, we have help and hope to overcome. What we see and perceive is not the whole story. God is at work, far beyond what we can observe or comprehend. Yesterday, mom had her appointment with her new primary care physician in Oregon. We thought that through the consultation, in-home therapies could be referred out and quickly established, just as they had been in Washington. Unfortunately, that was not the case. According to insurance criteria in Oregon, mom has to see a specialist of some sort to gain a referral for her in-home care. In our limited understanding, this is frustrating, as it delays the entire process of getting mom back to work with forward momentum. Even so, God sees far more than we do. He does not withhold good. I have to believe that there is purpose in the delay, and He is making a way for something even greater than we could hope or imagine on mom’s behalf. The Lord is generous and kind, and He loves our mom even more than we do, and wants even greater things for her than us. We have to trust that He has a purpose and plan for the delay, and is making a way that is greater still than anything that we have known before. May we all trust in the Lord, who does not withhold good from us, as He loves us beyond what we can even begin to grasp.

 

O Lord, help us trust,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Your grace is secured;

For You don’t withhold,

Your love we’re assured.

Despite what we see,

In You, there is more;

The impossible,

Become open doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Flood us with Your grace;

Fill hearts with Your peace,

As You make the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that You do not withhold any good thing from us. Thank You that You willingly and lovingly sacrificed everything to make the way for us to be with You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we somehow make You small, when You are the Creator of all that exists. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer, Provider, Father, Friend, and so much more. Show us how to love those around us through the seasons of waiting, so that they might be encouraged and strengthened and know how deeply they are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness to make the way, where it seems so difficult. Amen.

 

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

 

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16

Keep Singing

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

As I prepare to head home for a quick visit until Sunday morning, I have much to be grateful for as I go. God is doing a new thing in mom, as He is granting her courage and desire to actually get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery. For me, this has been a huge answer to prayer, especially with no appointments scheduled over the long holiday weekend. Mom desperately needed something to break up the long hours, and I needed a change of scenery and an escape. Wednesday, she willingly obliged to go into town for a quick coffee run, and consequently, we picked up lunch at a favorite take out place. Yesterday, what began as another quick coffee run, turned into a glorious adventure in scenic driving, as mom directed me on amazing back roads that I had never been. We both were all smiles as we soaked in the sun and the scenery along the river, nestled between the surrounding mountains. For a few hours, life did not seem like we were in this post-stroke limbo space, but rather we were simply out on an adventure together. Dare I say, all felt gloriously normal. The outing challenged her enough to leave her needing a rest, and helped break up the day so that what could have been a long and dull day, actually flowed and was an enjoyable and relaxing one. Sleep last night was decent, and the sunrise this morning was an exceptional orange glow. As I drive home late this afternoon, I know that my way will be accompanied by a loud sing-along to my favorite songs of praise. God is loving and merciful, and He provides all that we need, just as it is needed. May we ever praise Him for His goodness and grace.

 

Forever faithful, img_2019-07-05_06-48-18148229039848643710.jpg

God of strength and grace;

Our space of refuge,

For all of our days.

You show us Your love,

As it never fails;

Kindness unending,

Your goodness prevails.

May we ever sing,

Give unending praise;

To You, our Savior,

Hope of all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are goodness and kindness, strength and love. Thank You that You are our refuge forever. Thank You that You teach our hearts to sing, so that we may ever praise You. Forgive us for forgetting the tune that You have planted in our heart when things feel too heavy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place all in Your hands and praise You through life’s storms. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten the load that others are bearing, so that they too, may find the song within. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our strength and refuge, for Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

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

Listen for Wisdom

(If you) turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding – then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, NIV) 

Listen to wisdom, and do your best to understand. If you do this, you will understand what it means to respect the Lord, and you will come to know God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, ERV) 

So, train your heart to listen when I speak and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment – then pass it on to your sons and daughters. Then you will discover the fear of the Lord and find the true knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, TPT) 

 

Wisdom, knowledge and understanding come when we turn to God and seek Him. It requires that we purposely pursue the One who holds the key to all. Just as it is with people around us, we only get to know and understand them if we spend intentional time together. God waits willingly and lovingly for us to seek Him. When we do, we begin to understand who He is and how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and set aside time to learn and grow with Him, as He opens our understanding to know more of Him. 

 

The wisdom of God, The Word of God

What we ought pursue; 

For His heart’s made known, 

To all those who do. 

Seek to understand, 

For that is the space; 

Where He will reveal, 

His wisdom and grace. 

For great is His Name, 

In every way; 

In awe and wonder, 

May we choose to pray. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to meet us and impart to us, new wisdom and understanding of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we need pursue You and do not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your wisdom in all things, with reverence and awe. Show us how to love those around us in ways that are best for each individual whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding and insight in all things, and view You with proper awe and reverence. Amen.

 

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

 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise. – Psalm 111:10

Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

As Unto You

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. – (Colossians 3:23, CEB)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others. – (Colossians 3:23, TPT)

 

After student-led conferences, there is a sort of shift as we are race forward into the holiday season. We have a four-day week this week, less than three-day week next week, then we are only a month away until Christmas Break. Calendars fill rapidly, and it is easy to over-commit. That being said, my intent going into this busy, but beautiful season, is going to be – if I cannot put my heart and soul into whatever it is, as if unto the Lord, then my answer to the invitation will need to be a “no”. My family, my job, and my existing commitments to that which I am called, have to be my priority as I go. I love people deeply, and grew up as a “pleaser”, so I must be certain that my motivation is as unto the Lord. He is well-pleased with us because we are His, not for anything that we do or do not do. May we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord as we walk into this wonderful season, and allow Him to lead us into the things that we can do with our whole heart.

 

In all that we do, Weighing the Why

May it be done well;

As unto the Lord,

Love’s own personnel.

As we choose commit,

To events and tasks;

We need make certain,

Our heart in it lasts.

How we choose to work,

The care placed in things;

Is our way to show,

The good that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things as unto You. Thank You that we are not created to please people, but rather to be obedient to You. Thank You that as we live and love according to Your call, work is done well and people are loved as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have over-committed ourselves and have been pulled in so many different directions that we were unable to fully invest in anything. Teach us to balance our time and place our whole heart into the things that we are called to do. Show us how to love and prioritize people as we work as unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our heart and soul into every activity that we do, as unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24