Sunday, April 8, 2012

Resurrection is Here.

3:22 PM

Easter Sunday. Resurrection Day. People celebrate Easter in many different ways. Some with baskets of candy, some with plates of food, some with services of worship and some with acts of kindness. But HOW you celebrate is really second to WHY you celebrate. I celebrate because today represents the day that my Savior conquered death and the grave, and offered me life. Resurrection.

This concept of resurrection has been debated, doubted and supposedly debunked. A lot of Christians claim to believe in the resurrection, but fail to see how the power of it today in their own lives. Just as Jesus conquered death centuries ago, those claim to be in Him have conquered it as well. We no longer are susceptible to a spiritual death, but will forever live in eternity with Him. We, too, have been resurrected. Our "old self" has been put to death, and our lives began anew in Christ.

Romans 6: 3-11 says "That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country. Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did."

It's beautiful, really. New life springing up where there was once death. And this resurrection isn't just for Easter Sunday, but throughout the year. We can daily "die" to those "old self" desires and choose to live in the resurrection of our new selves.

So, I hope that you join me in living as one who has been resurrected, with faith in the One who made this life possible. And if you haven't, start today. Never too late to come alive….

Happy Resurrection Day!


Friday, April 6, 2012

It is Finished.

6:07 PM

Today is Good Friday. And for those of us who are Christians, it holds dear and significant importance. It's the day our Savior was killed. The day He took our sins upon himself. And the day that brought us one step closer into full redemption. It's a tragic day, and a beautiful day. This video expresses some of the emotions that Scriptures convey about that fateful day.

Here's the gospel of Matthew's account of the events, as told in
The Message, chapter 27, verses 27-56:

"The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor's palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown from branches of a thornbush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: "Bravo, King of the Jews!" they said. "Bravo!" Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.

Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus' cross. Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call "Skull Hill," they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn't drink it.

After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"

The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: "He saved others—he can't save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We'll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his 'Son' now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God's Son, didn't he?" Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Some bystanders who heard him said, "He's calling for Elijah." One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, "Don't be in such a hurry. Let's see if Elijah comes and saves him."

But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.

At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What's more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus' resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.) The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, "This has to be the Son of God!"

My prayer on this Friday:
"Lord, thank you for your sacrifice. These words aren't even enough to capture the magnitude of what you did on that cross...for me. I was nothing, but yet you died, so I could live in eternity with you. You died, so I could live for you on this Earth. You died, for a chance at relationship with me. I am yours, Lord. Use me, mold me, send me, break me....I am yours. Thank you."