EASTER SUNDAY GRATITUDE
A few years ago, a very close friend asked me whether I truly believed that Jesus was the Son of God.
Now, the question itself was not odd. But, it was oddly timed. We were not talking about spirituality or theology at the time the question was posed. Rather, we were actually discussing career plans and the minutia of the day.
When my friend posed his query, I looked at him intently for a moment. I wondered, seriously, if this was a test of some kind. And then, after a beat, I answered as succinctly as I could.
“Yes, I do believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
I also believe that Jesus is a perfect example of what man can do when he commits himself to learning about God and following His precepts.
Imagine the possibilities if we would get in sync with God and the Holy Spirit. If we worked to become like Jesus, we would become super spirit filled heroes. We would be transformed from frail humans to miracle working paragons of faith. We would be able to face death without fear. We would be full of knowledge of God. We could even die and be resurrected again.
Today, is Easter Sunday, the day in which we celebrate the resurrection of the Son of the Living God. It is the day when the finality of death was forever erased.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 55: 51-58
When Jesus died, He became the ultimate sacrifice. This sacrifice was needed to atone for the sins of the world. It is because of His death that we can even approach the Holy God with our petitions and requests.
Remember, the God in the Old Testament is the same God in the New Testament. This means that God’s nature has not changed. In the Old Testament, no one was allowed to approach near unto the place where God dwelt without being clean and making a blood sacrifice (an animal). Today, thanks to Jesus, blood sacrifices are no longer required. Now, we can approach God whenever we desire to do so - even when we have made a mistake. Jesus’ sacrifice makes this possible!
I am ever grateful to Jesus for His selfless act.
Yes, Jesus is real. He is the Son of God. He is the Holy Lamb of God.
THE "G" IN ME
I never find much comfort in the grim reality of the daily grind. If given the chance, I’d prefer to live in an animated tv series with a perfectly green lawn and butterflies to greet me every morning.
Alas, life on this side of glory is not always joyful. It is not always fun. I realize this. But thanks be to God there are ways to navigate this world with joy and laughter.
Paul speaks about a Power that enables him to thrive despite a series of setbacks that would cripple just about anyone.
I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.[a] 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Paul believes that it is the Christ in Him that makes all the difference. In other words, he is able to survive prison, betrayal, beatings, depression, illness not because of his mental prowess, intellectual reasoning, strong will, financial resources; but because of his partnership with Christ that actually completes and perfects him.
Where Paul is weak and flawed, Christ makes him strong and perfect.
Likewise, if I develop a strong relationship with Christ, I will be strengthened in all the places where I am deficient. I too will be made perfectly suited to handle the stresses, health crises, epidemics, terrorist threats, economic instabilities, and mean spirit-ness of this world.
Notice that the Power that Paul speaks of does not manifest itself as a sense of resignation. Paul does not wallow in the fact that the world is evil. Paul does not hunker down in isolation with an intent to bear the world’s trials without hope. Instead Paul continues on his mission. He continues to live his life in the face of tragedy. He gets up every morning with a sense of Joy that he is not alone and that the victory is already his.
Why worry about the hardships that confront you when God has promised to provide the inner Power to deal with each and every tribulation come what may. Not only can God work miracles but God can change your countenance so that the things that used to perplex and debilitate you no longer have any effect on you at all.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phillipeans 4:13
It is a promise, darling.
Seeking Happiness? Me too.