When you celebrate Easter is your focus on the crucifixion or His defeat over death?
I am in complete awe of the Easter story. The temptation, capture, imprisonment, torture, ridicule, crucifixion, resurrection, appearance and ascension.
This lent, in addition to awe, I've spent considerable time in gratitude. Not a list of things I'm grateful for, but a deep, emotional and spiritual penetration of gratefulness that I become overwhelmed by His power. The gift 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)
I'm grateful for:
1. His grace and mercy. He recognizes our sin, hears us blaming Him for all the bad and evil in this world, feels our rejection as we turn away from Him in our anger, hears us laughing as we mock Him, and watches us as we destroy our bodies with our own desires, and yet makes us alive in Jesus. (Ephesians 2: 4-5)
2. His Protection. I've lived in such a spirit of fear in the last six months over the drastic changes in my life. I've questioned, shaken my head in incredulous disbelief over circumstances, and gritted my teeth in anger. Yet, He shields and loves me and reminds me that nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
3. His Wisdom. I'm grateful for my temptations because He didn't swoop in like a mythical superhero. Like a loving father, He let me endure, make choices, lean on Him and grow, never allowing the temptation to go beyond our abilities or leaving us without a way out (1 Corinthian 10:13).
4. A Renewed Spirit. I can proclaim a sound mind, because I have been transformed and renewed to recognize the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). Each day, I awaken with new breath in my lungs, and a fresh focus on Him and His direction.
5. His Omnipresence. I cling to the future He has laid out before me, whatever that might be. I will not fear it because He is with me, guiding me. He is my strong tower, seeing farther and wider to protect us from evils I don’t even know exist, because He is our rock, fortress, strength and shield. (Psalms 23, Proverbs 18:2, 12)
There is so much to be thankful for, but the study of His walk in His final days has moved me deeply. Every curve ball thrown, every pain inflicted, every careless action tossed, hurled, or catapulted my way is deflected, caught, or destroyed because “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body of the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11)
These verses remind me that I don't only mourn for His death, I can rejoice because He rose again. I don’t just have his shed blood covering me, I have His resurrected life breathing inside me.
I must not take the sacrificed blood of Jesus and turn it into a pool of shame in which I drown. No! His blood was shed out of LOVE so I no longer have to feel that shame. I won't weep at the crown of thorns only to miss the risen flesh. He is risen and He has overcome.
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
The same authority that came to rule over sin can handle anything I can throw at Him. (Ephesians 1:19-21).
And the same authority that saved me from sin can save you from sin. If you have not received the Easter Gift of our risen Lord, receive it. Don’t put it in the corner for another day or when it feels less weird or uncomfortable or more of your friends are doing it. Gifts are meant to be received. Period.
No refunds or returns.
Just beautiful surrender to His peace and love so you can share it with others.
One way you can begin your commitment with Christ is to say a prayer to let Him know you are ready. Here is an example by the late Reverend Billy Graham:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.
You do not have to go at it alone. If you need prayer and support, please contact me. Find a local church or Christian Counselor who can help answer your very important questions. Believers – will you pray for unbelievers in your community this week? Pray that God places a strong desire in their hearts to receive the message and Gift of Easter. Will you join me?