Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Encouragement

Easter is just a few days away.  This is my favorite holiday!  Easter is a time of sadness, forgiveness, grace, redemption, and ultimately LOVE! 

Easter remembers the death of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.  Jesus was God-made-flesh.  He was a man who walked on this earth for 33 years.  During this time, He performed miracles, ministered to the sick and hurting, reached out to the wicked and outcasts.  He lived a life of simplicity that was wrapped up in sharing God's love with ALL He came in contact with.  When we remember Good Friday, we remember that on that day Jesus was murdered on a cross.  He died a criminal's death in a humiliating fashion.  He was harassed and mocked, yet He had done nothing wrong.  God sacrificed His one and only Son on that cross to take the sins of ALL people, past and present.  Jesus took on the burden of OUR SIN so that we could be forgiven.

If we dwell on the acts of that day, we would stay in grief.  If the story ended there, Jesus would have been nothing more than a prophet and martyr.  But, unlike any other religious figure, Jesus did the impossible.  On the day we celebrate Easter, we are recognizing the most amazing miracle ever.  On this day, God raised Jesus from the dead!  The tomb was empty and Jesus was gone!!!

Now, if you are not a believer in Christ, this story sounds like just that, a story.  I urge you to read the Scriptures, especially the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and read the accounts of Jesus' life and ministry.  I urge you to research what death on a cross meant.  If you struggle to grasp and believe the story of Jesus, I encourage you to check out the books or videos by Lee Strobel.  This man was an Atheist for many years.  He went on a investigation to prove Jesus as a man and disprove Christianity, but his findings changed his heart and mind.  If you subscribe to Netflix, you can find his work on there.

Because I believe the Jesus was the one Son of God, that He died on the cross for my sins, and that God raised Him from the dead, I am filled with hope.  As a parent, I cannot wrap my mind around the sacrifice of giving up a child for other people.  That act blows my mind.  Because I believe that God did all of this for me, I need to share this story with others.  Jesus is the only way to Heaven!  He loves you SO MUCH!  There is absolutely NOTHING that you have done that He won't forgive!  Jesus' story is filled with so much grace and love. We don't deserve forgiveness, yet it is offered as a free gift.  All we have to do is ask Him for it.  YOU ARE LOVED...YOU CAN BE FORGIVEN...YOU CAN BE SHOWN BOUNTIFUL GRACE!!!
The following is an amazing song written by Stuart Townsend.  It has been performed by many talented artists, but my favorite rendition is the one sung by Kristen Getty.  This song encompasses the message of Christ's love and the hope we who believe have!  Listen, read the lyrics, enjoy and have a blessed Easter!

 In Christ Alone Video

"In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand."

Written by Stuart Townsend

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