Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Easter means to me~~

This year, Easter has a very special meaning for me. You see, this is the first year I've spent this special holiday without my parents. They've both gone home to be with the Lord in these past few months. I learned my love of the Lord from my parents, so I've been thinking a lot this week about what they taught me over the years.

As I think about my Mom and Dad and their passing, the Promise of Jesus' Resurrection has extra significance to me, especially this year.

Although I miss my parents terribly, I know exactly where they are. I'll always treasure the times we spent together while they were with us, but now I have tremendous comfort knowing that they are with Jesus. All of their suffering is now over!

Towards the end of their life on this earth, they were both pretty miserable. Although we were able to get them in the same room at the nursing home, they were both bedridden and they were going downhill fast. Their minds were iffy, and they would come in and out of periods of dementia. They suffered greatly, but I know they weren't afraid to go because they knew were they were going. John 14:3 says "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." Mom and Dad believed that and they knew that when they left this earth they were going to Heaven! I miss them so, but I am also deliriously happy for them! Revelation 21:4 tells us "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Mom and Dad are doing just fine now, and in the future I am looking forward to our reunion in Heaven~~Praise God!

Unfortunately, for much of the world, the only thing Easter represents is bunnies, baby chicks, beautiful spring flowers, baskets filled with lots of plastic grass, filled eggs, chocolate, jelly beans and other goodies. It is their celebration of family and friends with Easter Egg hunts, coloring Easter Eggs and then hiding them in the yard for the little ones to find. It's about a beautifully decorated dining room table and big Easter dinners with ham, deviled eggs and other delicacies to be enjoyed. 

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE all the festivities 
of Easter myself. We've had our share of those Easter Celebrations
 when our kids were young. It's so much fun to watch children hunt 
around and then delight at each goody in their baskets. 
We would always take our kids to various egg hunts 
and watch their faces beam with delight at each new discovery. 
That's all great fun, But there has to be more, right?  
Well, Praise God, there is a lot more!

A beautiful Easter Table for family and friends are lovely~
But, is this all there is to an Easter Celebration

All of these delightful things are not what Easter is really about. There are just part of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.
Easter is about Jesus Resurrection from the dead! It's about God raising Him from the dead, after He was brutally crucified and died in front of a crowd of onlookers. It's about the promise of God to do exactly what He said He would do. 

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Easter is God keeping that Promise to mankind. It's about new life; Jesus new life, and God keeping His promise for us to live with Him in Paradise. All you have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ Jesus, repent of your sins, turn from your old ways and He will give you new life! Jesus has conquered death and the grave! Matthew 28:1-8 tells of Jesus Resurrection:

"Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples." 
THE TOMB IS EMPTY! Our Lord has Risen, just as He said. The world is right again. My parents are healthy and happy once again and joyfully spending time with our Lord! They are just as I remember them, years ago,when they were vibrant. God is SO good. He loves us so much that He sent his one and only Son to earth to die for us. He wanted to be reconciled back to us so we could live with Him forever.Thank you Heavenly Father for your unfathomable Love and Thank you Jesus for your incredible sacrifice! What a Gift!

Happy Easter Everyone~ He is Risen, Indeed!!

When you wake up tomorrow morning, I hope you're able to go to church to celebrate Jesus Resurrection! If you can't, I pray you can take time to thank God for His wonderful plan of Salvation and His son's unbelievable sacrifice for and me~~

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

What a glorious day Easter is! Thank you Heavenly Father that you loved us enough to want to be with us in eternity. Thank you for your perfect plan of redemption through your Son. Help us to go forth and tell the world about your marvelous love. We live a blessed life~

I pray this with a thankful heart in Jesus name,
Amen and Amen

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's so GOOD about Good Friday?

Today is Good Friday. What happened on this day over 2,000 years ago shifted the world on it's axis. It changed the life of every single human being born after that.

Jesus, the only Holy, sin free person to ever walk this earth, was crucified, laid in a tomb for three days, and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Jesus birth, death and resurrection are the central themes in the Holy Bible. Jesus death was prophetised about centuries before in many books of the Bible. This is the reason he came to earth. This is the reason he was born. He knew exactly what was going to happen to him, and He was ready.

Jesus was with his disciples during Holy Week, trying to explain to them what was about to happen. In John 2:19 he address them with "Strike this temple down and I will raise it again in three days." And in John 12:23 when he says "It is time for the Son of Man to enter into His glory." John 12:27 says "Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” 

So, if Jesus suffered and died on Good Friday, why is it called " Good Friday" anyway? There are many explanations that have risen over the centuries. The word Good, is a derivation of an old English word that means Holy, thus it's called Holy Friday in many parts of the world. But the one that rings true with me is that it's Good Friday because the message of Easter and Jesus Resurrection is all about Jesus victory over sin, death and the devil, and that is ALL GOOD!

                                                                          Jesus is Known by His Scars
Jesus came to earth to die and be victorious over sin. Through his sacrificial death, blood atonement and then his Resurrection and our acceptance of that, we are finally reconciled back to God Almighty, the way it was before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. We can live forever with our Creator, the way he intended it to be all along!

                                                                       Jesus died for your sins and mine

Glory Hallejujah! Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice. Rejoice and Be Glad! Good Friday is about our Savior's incredible love. He took on the whole sins of the world so we could live with Him in Paradise! In three Days, we will Celebrate Easter Sunday and Jesus Resurrection, and THAT is what Jesus and his love are all about.

                                                           Jesus and the Cross are all about God's love
My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Thank you for this Holy Week. Thank you for your Son and his tremendous sacrifice for our sins. What a unbelievable plan of Glory you set in motion those many, many years ago. Help us to tell the world about your love, your Son and his Resurrection. Help us to spread the Gospel of Jesus wherever we go.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The unfathomable Passion of our Lord~

As we make our way through Holy Week, have you ever thought about Jesus' emotional state during his tumultuous last days? 

He went from the absolute height of emotions when multitudes of admirers and followers welcomed him into Jerusalem, hailing him as King; to the very bottom~~being accused, flogged, mocked and spit upon as he hung on a cross to die an unbelievably cruel death. All in the course of one short week.

                                                                Jesus triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. 
                                                                     They hailed him as King of Israel!

He knew what was coming, yet he endured it all for you and me. He was sent to earth for exactly what was going to happen. He was God and He knew what he had to do, but he was still fully human and without a doubt he felt all of the emotions and dread, knowing what was coming his way.

As he made it through the jubilant and boisterous crowds, where they were shouting Hosanna and bowing their palm fronds towards him, I'm sure he was thinking "Finally, they are hailing me for what I truly am, their King." Have I finally gotten through to them? Even in this late hour?

But he knew the week wasn't over and there were still many prophesied events that needed to come to pass. Imagine knowing your fate like he did? What a blessing that our God has spared us that incredible test of faith. It must have been overwhelming for Jesus to know the way he was going to die, and that the weight of the sins of all humanity were going with him to that cross. What a horrific burden, yet he endured it all, without a word. He was totally obedient to the will of his Father in Heaven. 

As he gathered with his twelve disciples, he knew that he would be betrayed by one of them for the price of silver. Sound familiar? How many on this earth are murdered innocently for money?Yet he sat with them, and taught them about his sacrifice to come and the importance of this New Covenant, what we now know as Holy Communion, that they were enjoying together. Though they didn't understand because he spoke in parables, they undoubtedly sensed things were going to radically change and soon. Mark 14:17,20 says "When the evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said " I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me.. It is one of the twelve, he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him."

                                                     Jesus and his twelve disciples celebrate the "Last Supper"                                                                                            
After they finished their Passover meal, Jesus took them to the Garden of Gethsemane,and instructed them to keep watch while he went to pray. Mark 14:33-34 says "He took Peter, James and John along with him and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death", he said to them."Stay here and keep watch." Going a little father, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father, he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me, Yet not what I will, but what you will, be done."

When he returned to other disciples, he found them sleeping. Can you imagine his feeling at their total unconcern about what was about to happen? They couldn't even handle a simple request like keeping guard while he prayed. He must have been so disappointed in them. Soon, he would be turned over, betrayed, arrested and everything he told them was about to come to pass. I think they probably didn't understand or believe that it was really going to come down, but it was-- just as it had been prophesied about centuries before.

                                            Jesus is overwhelmed with sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane

As I've been praying this week about Jesus and his sacrifice, I have been overwhelmed with his incredible demeanor during this week. He was human after all, but he knew what was coming and still kept his cool. He didn't lose it. He was composed and God-like, not letting his humanity take over his feelings, which I'm sure were boiling up inside him. He did ask his Father for a way out - but with the caveat of having His Father's will be done. We know what the answer to that question was.

As we head into mourning the crucifixion and then celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord, try to picture what your feelings would be if this were happening to you? Can you imagine it? Can you imagine dying for someone you've never met? We all have bad weeks, and complain and whine about them. Next time you're going through one, think of Jesus and his final week. Your problems won't seem so bad after all.

Jesus had true Love, Jesus had true Passion.

My verses for today are in red.

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

I am overwhelmed with your passion for me and for the world. It is so incredible, so unfathomable, that you would send your Son to earth to die for us, in our place. What an unselfish gift. Thank you Lord for your graciousness. Help us to remember what you did, and spread the news of your gospel and your Son and your amazing Love.

In Jesus Name,