Tag Archives: Easter

Living Dead or Born Again

Life can leave us feeling dead.  Have you ever felt that way, breathing and exchanging air but starved for life, longing for change but powerless to make changes, longing for a heaven on earth, the kingdom of God in the here and now? Or do you believe  you are living, oblivious to the fact you are really dead?  It might be better for you to be one of those who feel dead and are seeking life!

In the third chapter of the Gospel of John,  we watch and hear Jesus tell the Pharisee Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Nicodemus is puzzled and wonders, how can this be?  Jesus tells Nicodemus that flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit.  He tells him that no one has ever gone into heaven except for the Son of Man who came from heaven.  He tells him that the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

The apostle John tells us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

The apostle Paul proclaims that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  He describes mankind as dead in their sins.  Indeed, the living are the living dead until they believe that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was lifted up and crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for their sin. Then they are born of God, born of His  Spirit – given His life, an eternal, abundant life that begins in the here and now.

The good news is that you don’t have to be living dead.  You can be born again to everlasting life.  Will you believe in the One who was lifted up and died for you?

 

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Morning Reflection

8:3:13

Morning comes and darkness flees when the sun rises above the horizon.  Light breaks into my darkness when the Son of God speaks my name.

One morning while it was still dark, long ago in Israel, a woman by the name of Mary Magdalene, who had been cured of seven demons, stood by a tomb crying. She was distressed because the body of her crucified teacher was no longer in the  grave where he had been buried.  She felt confused and frightened. Someone, she thought might be a gardner (remember it was still dark), asked her why she was crying. Between sobs, Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him.” After another brief exchange of words, He said, “Mary”, and she cried out, “Teacher”.  *

Mary knew her Lord’s voice.  She recognized it.  His voice had to power to send demons fleeing.  His voice had the power to heal and transform.  As He spoke her name, she knew HER LORD LIVED AGAIN!  In that moment everything had changed.  Nothing was impossible.  All the promises of God had become YES!

Of all the resurrection accounts of the Lord Jesus, the story of Mary Magdalene is my favorite.  I identify with her because my name is Mary and because I have been cured of demons, the figurative kind and, I believe, the literal kind.

The Lord speaks our names.  Sometimes He calls us to follow Him for first time.  Sometimes His tone is one of gentle comfort.  At other times it is a word of loving rebuke.  He speaks and light breaks into our darkness.  Confusion is replaced with amazing clarity.  Anger is washed away. Peace defeats fear.  Hope dawns like the morning.

May you hear Him call your name this Easter Morning.  May the Son in all His Glory dawn upon you, and may you reflect that Glory in our dark world.

*See the 20th chapter of The Gospel of John

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Easter Morning and A Sand Dollar

SandDollarOf all the mornings of each year, Easter is my favorite.  This Easter morning was especially glorious.  My husband and I attended a service with our son at a lake shore.  The sun rising over the lake was beautiful.  We faced the sun, and I closed my eyes, reveling in the sun’s warmth on my face and the sound of birds singing around us.

In those quiet moments with my eyes closed and my heart worshipping the Risen Savior, I became aware of some light in my lower right vision.  The light formed a star shape.  Then I noticed four white spokes radiating from the star.  Insight dawned – the light on the dark screen of my mind had produced the image of a Sand Dollar.

There is a legend that says this shell tells the story of the birth and death of Jesus.   There are four nails holes and a fifth hole made by the Roman’s spear to remind us He is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed that we might be forgiven and have everlasting life.  On one side of the shell there is an Easter lily with a star at it’s center, reminding us of the Star of Bethlehem that announced His birth.  On the other side of the shell, there is a Christmas poinsettia that also reminds us of His birthday. Inside the shell are five white doves, reminding us of the Holy Spirit, who is given by Jesus to each believer to empower him or her to share this life changing good news.

Risen, Glorious Lord Jesus, thank You for the beautiful ways You reveal the truth to us and tell us Your Story, including the lovely  Sand Dollar.

 

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New Beginnings

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This blog is dedicated to The One I love.  The One who makes all things new.  The Author of springtime, new mornings, and new beginnings.

Long ago that Author resurrected my marriage one Easter morning. ( You can read my story on the book page of this website.)   Before He could renew my relationship with my husband, a stone needed to be rolled away.  It was a large, heavy stone, a boulder really.  That massive blockage was resentment, and the force essential to removing it was forgiveness.

I approach this Easter with another relationship that is at risk for death without forgiveness.  Although I have apologized and asked to be forgiven, the person I hurt has not extended forgiveness.

Now I struggle with regret which is made worse by my desire to be perfect, my delusion that if I just try hard enough, if I do all the right things, I can be perfect.  I can endlessly obsess over what I did.  Why did I do that?  How could I have been so stupid?  If only I hadn’t done that.  If only I could live that day over.  If only, if only, if only, and the regret  strangles my joy.

I have always found it easier to forgive others than to forgive myself.   Perhaps the ability to accept God’s forgiveness, to embrace it, and to start over is dependent on my forgiving myself, the way God forgives me.

I think that before I can grieve the loss of this relationship and move forward,  I am going to have to forgive myself and get over being imperfect.

Lately, The One who makes all things new, has been reminding me of some great advice from the apostle Paul.  “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”                   (Philippians 3: 13 & 14)

Lord Jesus, thank you for forgiving me.  Please give me grace to forgive myself, to leave the past with its regrets behind, and to strain forward for what lies ahead.  Let me let you love me and let me let you restore me. Amen

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Easter Prayer

In one of my husband’s favorite resurrection testimonies, two sad and puzzled followers of Jesus say, “Stay with us…”  (Luke 24:29)

It was almost evening on the first day of the week.   Two of those who had followed Jesus were walking on the road to Emmaus, discussing their questions and disappointment over what had just happened in Jerusalem that passover.  The newly resurrected teacher joined them on the road, but they did not recognize him.  He asked them what they were talking about and then explained from all their scriptures, starting with Moses, that the Messiah would have to suffer before he entered his glory.   Their hearts burned within as he taught.  As they reached their destination, they asked him to stay and share their supper.   He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it.   In that moment their eyes were opened and they recognized their Jesus, alive again.

Andrew Murray once inspired me with these words regarding the salvation of my children, “Abide in Christ, and let the child feel that to be near you is to be near Christ. Live in the power of the love and the redemption, and the life of Christ; your house will be to the child the ark where Christ is known and found.”*

Glorious Lord, Risen Savior, this Easter Morning, Howard and I ask you again to stay with us, abide with us.  Fill our home with your light and your love.  Teach us, set our hearts on fire, break bread with us.  May all who enter the ark of our home feel they have been with you.   For the Glory of your name and for the sake of your kingdom.  Amen.

* How to Raise Your Children For Christ

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A Morning Cross

Morning light on Maundy Thursday making a cross on my bedroom curtains, reminding me of the Lord’s sacrifice for me, reminding me of his words.  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)   I remember he washed his disciples’ feet and told them that the way to happiness would be found in copying his example.  I remember that walking the way of the cross will make me a blessing to my husband, children, grandchildren, friends and community.

Oh, Lord, thank you for giving up your life so that I might live.  Empower me to take up my cross and follow you.   Forgive my selfishness; let me die to my own agendas,  yield to your will and serve others as you do.  Enable me to keep my eyes on you today.   By your power, let me live to forgive, to serve, to love as you do.  I love you, Beautiful Lord Jesus.

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