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The Fruit of God’s Love

26 Mar

Sorry. There’s really nothing funny about Resurrection Day. Oh there are lots of jokes about bunnies and Easter eggs, like:

  • Question: How many Easter eggs can you put in an empty basket
    • Answer: One. (After that, it’s not empty anymore!)
  • Question: How does the Easter bunny stay in shape?
    • Answer: Hareobics.
  • Question: What does the Easter Bunny have on his I-Pod?
    • Answer: Hip-Hop!

But jokes about Jesus who died on the cross for our sins and then rose to give us new life?

No. That’s not a joking matter.

But it IS a time for celebration. I can laugh out loud with joy that Jesus overcame death and the evil one and now calls people to new life.

About four weeks ago, I saw a sign at Hobby Lobby that was a play on the old Trix cereal commercial. The sign read:

Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus.

SillyRabbit_EasterIsForJesus_SignSeenAtHobbyLobbyWhile funny—and I did laugh—the sign isn’t completely accurate.

Easter is a secular holiday to celebrate spring; Resurrection Day is “for Jesus.”

(In truth, for the Christian every day is supposed to be for Jesus, but I’m making a point here.)

There are at least two days most Christians hold as sacred and celebrate: Christmas and Resurrection Day (which many still call Easter). They both commemorate something special about the Lord we love. 

It’s been my choice through the years to keep these days special, because in the midst of all the “fun stuff,” I want to honor Him.

Thomas Cotterill wrote these words that remind me why I love this day:

On this auspicious morn The Lord of Life arose;

He burst the bars of death, And vanquished all our foes:

And now He pleads our cause above,

And reaps the fruits of all His love.*

When I read that I suddenly thought: Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am a “fruit of all His love!”

Today, my prayer is,

“Thank you, Jesus, for this and every Resurrection Day that reminds us what You did for us! Thank you that I am the fruit of Your love.”

Jesus, God’s Son:

CrossOnBlue_ChristIsRisen_HCTSaves and redeems us (Ephesians 1:7-10; Colossians 1:13-14).

Forgives us (1 John 1:8-10; Luke 24:47; Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Makes us holy (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 10:10; Romans 6:18; 12:1-2).

Gives us life with Him now and forever (John 3:16; 11:25-26; 17:3; 1 John 2:25).

Understanding God’s way of salvation isn’t hard, but people are free to believe or not.

The Lord made the way of salvation plain

Do you know Jesus—not just do you know about Him, but are you living in a relationship with Him? If you know the Lord, celebrate this Resurrection Day with joy and peace in your heart!

 – * Hymn: “Awake, Ye Saints, Awake” by Thomas Cotterill.

 – Dawn

Death Cannot Hold Us Down

8 Apr

Children’s ideas of death and resurrection often surprise us. TV legend Art Linkletter once had a TV show highlighting the funny things children say. One of his funniest stories was about a seven-year-old boy whose dog had died.

To make the teary-eyed boy feel better, Linkletter said, “Don’t be sad, because your dog is up in heaven with God.”

The boy thought about this for a second and then said, “Mr. Linkletter, what would God want with a dead dog?”

Right. No dead things in heaven.

[By the way, we can’t know for sure about dogs’ destination… but Randy Alcorn has a wonderful chapter about pets in his book, Heaven. It encouraged me when my Jack Russell Terrier died.]

The truth is, God is all about giving life. We celebrate that truth on Easter; we celebrate the resurrection.

I got a kick reading about a four-year-old girl’s description of Jesus’ resurrection: “And three days later,” she said, “He snuck right out!”

Cute, but not true. Jesus didn’t sneak out of the grave.

Our Lord emerged triumphant over death, and showed Himself to hundreds of people in 12 appearances after His resurrection!

He appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:10-18). He appeared to the women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10) and to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32; Mark 16:12-13).

He appeared to Simon (Cephas, or Peter) in Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). He appeared to the disciples and others in a locked room in Jerusalem ~Thomas not being present (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23). A week later, Jesus appeared again to His disciples, and Thomas saw Him (John 20:24-29).

He appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-24), and to 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). He appeared three more times to various disciples (1 Corinthians 15:7; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:50-53) before His ascension to heaven ~ and then to Paul after the ascension! (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

The wonderful consequence of Jesus’ resurrection for us today is this: because He lives, we too shall live (John 14:19). Jesus’ resurrection was more than an event. In John 11:15, He said, “I am the resurrection and the life…” He is the resurrection. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) ~ the only way to live forever with God.

Just as death could not hold Jesus in the grave, the scriptures say, “whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). I echo Jesus’ words: “Do you believe this?”

Christians who are blood-bought and in Christ are heaven-bound, eternal creatures. The glorious truth is, Death cannot hold us down.

 

Easter ~ The Rest of the Story and then Some!

24 Apr

You’re likely to see a lot more people in church on Easter Sunday… well, maybe.

A husband and his wife arose one Easter morning and the wife dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband hadn’t moved a finger toward getting dressed. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?”

He said, “Cause I don’t want to go.”

She asked, “Do you have any reason?”

He said, “Yes, I have three good reasons. First, the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don’t want to go.”

The wife replied, wisely, “Well, honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First, the congregation is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you’re the pastor! Get dressed!” *

Radio personality Paul Harvey often surprised his listeners with a surprise “twist” on his stories, saved until the very end. Broadcasts concluded with the warm tag line, And now you know … the rest of the story.” Though the folksy storyteller died in 2009, his tag line will live on in the minds of those who loved him; and his book, Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story, includes 82 tales with the punch line that makes us smile.

Garden Tomb - signJesus Tomb and signSign at Jesus' TombI (Dawn) read a post by my friend Lynn Mosher recently that got me thinking about not only the resurrection of Christ, but events following that miraculous day. Lynn wrote, “Who removed those gruesome nails from Jesus’ body?” It was something I’d never thought about. Of course, someone had to take down Jesus body for burial … and it was likely Joseph of Arimethea who extracted “the bloody nails driven for the sins of man.” It made me wonder what other things I might not have considered.

Actually, as I’ve thought about Easter this year after visiting Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, I’ve dug deeper than ever before into the facts surrounding His death and resurrection. I’ve been spurred on by my friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss of Revive Our Hearts. I followed her broadcast series, titled “The Incomparable Christ” ~ an expansion of the chapters in the book by the same name, authored by Oswald Sanders.

As an Easter devotional, I wanted to share some of Nancy’s thoughts from that series.

“There is no way to overstate the importance of Jesus’ resurrection to the 1st century followers of DoorAtTomb_SignChrist,” she said. “Before the resurrection, they were timid, fearful . . . the thought that their lives might be at risk caused them to run for cover . . . and then, the news of the resurrection, along with the empowering of the Holy Spirit, transformed those first disciples into a bold band of believers who were willing to lay down their lives for Christ’s sake. The Church was birthed and spread through the proclamation that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead.

“Apart from Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we have no hope of eternal life,” Nancy said. “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).”

Nancy then shared Seven implications of the Resurrection for those who have placed their faith in Christ.

  1. The Resurrection means there is hope in the most desperate circumstance.
  2. The Resurrection means that God always keeps His promises. (Matthew 28:5-6; 16:21-22)
  3. The Resurrection means that death is no longer to be feared. (John 11:25-26)
  4. The bodily Resurrection of Christ assures us of our own bodily resurrection. (1 Corinthians 6:14; Philippians 3:21)
  5. The Resurrection means that God has accepted and approves of the work Christ did on the cross, and therefore He accepts and approves of us! (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 4:25)
  6. The Resurrection means the power and dominion of sin in our lives has been overcome (Romans 6:4-5)
  7. The Resurrection means that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. (Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 1:19-20)

So, the BLESSINGS DIDN’T END on Continue reading

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