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My Favorite Easter Memory

Posted on April 4, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

“He is not here; he has risen!”

Luke 24:6

What are your fondest Easter memories? The first Easter that I can remember was when I was five years old. My Uncle Buddy had joined the Marine Corps shortly before Christmas and didn’t return home from basic training until near Easter. Consequently, my mother left up the Christmas tree so we could have a combination Christmas/Easter celebration. By Easter that tree looked like Charlie Brown’s needleless Christmas tree.

A year later I had a severe case of the measles at Easter. During that time, I was confined to the couch in the living room. On the day before Easter, I was greeted by surprise guests. Mom and dad had purchased two live baby bunnies that were not supposed to be seen until Easter morning. But the bunnies had a different idea and escaped from their box in the kitchen.

I also recall my annual Easter basket of colored eggs, marshmallow peeps, and chocolate bunnies that traditionally followed with a big family dinner at my grandmother’s house featuring her homemade coconut Easter Bunny cake. Additionally, my childhood Easter celebration always included going to church. Easter Sunday services were always packed to overflowing with decked out parishioners sporting brightly colored new outfits.

Just like you, I have many fond Easter memories and have shared only a few to get you thinking about what you remember most about Easter. However, those things we recall about Easter pale compared to what Jesus’ disciples experienced on that first Easter Sunday morning. Can you imagine what it was like when they went to the empty tomb?

There are certain events in your life that are so significant that they remain etched in your memory as if they happened just yesterday. Your wedding day, the birth of your first child, the death of a loved one, the day you graduated from high school, etc. These experiences vividly stay with you in great detail. So it must have been for those disciples who looked into the empty tomb.

I have often thought about the courageous women who followed close behind Jesus on the road to the cross. How it must have grieved them to see the pain already inflicted upon Him through the cruel beating, flogging, and crown of thorns and then to see the nails driven through His hands and feet and to watch for six horrific hours as Jesus suffered the cruelty of the cross. They witnessed the punishment, the ridicule, and the murder of the One they loved dearly and even after His death they waited for Jesus’ body to be removed from the cross.

When His body was carried off for burial, they followed to see where He was entombed. They finally left out of obedience to observe the Sabbath. Even then they planned to return to the grave for the proper preparation of Jesus’ body with spices and perfumes. How that miserable ordeal must have played over and over again in their minds.

When we are shaken by traumatic situations, the agonizing thoughts stay continually with us. As they awoke on that first Easter Sunday morning they were surely greeted by thoughts of overwhelming grief. In fact, the weight of emotional stress may have been so great that sleep eluded them. They approached the tomb, not in joy, but in great sorrow.

With an unpleasant task before them, they returned to the tomb to give Jesus a proper burial. Upon arriving they were hit with yet another setback. The tomb was empty. And then…

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:4-8)

The resurrection of Jesus changed everything for them. Sorrow turned to joy, defeat turned to victory, discouragement turned to hope, and death turned to life. Three simple yet powerful words changed their lives forever. He has risen.

My Easter memories have no real value other than just the recall of happy times from days gone by. Oh, but the Easter memories of those women who faithfully followed Jesus. I’ll take their memories over mine any day.

I can only imagine how things will be in heaven. Maybe someday I’ll be so fortunate as to sit by some of these women as they recall their experiences on that first Easter. And if someone should ask me to share my favorite Easter memory I’ll simply say, “My most favorite Easter memory is the same as yours. He has risen!”

For more on this topic, check out this article: When Christ Returns to Take Us Home

(Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2, April – June)

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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God Made Him Who Had No Sin to Be Sin for Us – Jesus Paid It All

Posted on March 29, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

It is the Easter season and undoubtedly there will be some new ridiculous claim about the life and work of Jesus. The most recent bizarre assertion is the notion that Jesus had a homosexual affair. A few years ago we were told that His coffin had been found which disproved the bodily resurrection of Christ. Make no mistake: Jesus paid it all.

No doubt, somewhere on television this week, the bizarre and fictional tale of Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene will appear. TV producers and writers have gone to great length to spin a yarn that claims that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, married Mary Magdalene, had children, and went into hiding in India or France.

Such efforts at disproving Christian doctrine are nothing unique to our time. Soon after His resurrection an erroneous claim was circulated that Jesus’ resurrection was a hoax perpetrated by His disciples who had hidden His body.

In the late 1,700’s there was a theory advanced that claimed that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. He just fainted from drugs given by Luke the physician. Another theory suggests that Pontius Pilate was bribed to have Jesus removed from the cross.

Through the ages there have been numerous attempts at disproving the claims of Christ and His followers.  The intent of all these false claims is to portray Jesus life and work as a lie. And if Jesus is a liar that would mean that He is a sinner just like the rest of us. That would also mean that His death has no meaning and purpose, the sin debt has not been paid, and Jesus died for nothing. There is no longer any hope for an eternal relationship with God. If Jesus had sinned, even once, His death would have no more meaning than you or me dying for the sins of mankind.

The good news is that Jesus had no sin. The Deceiver that I spoke of in yesterday’s message continues his sinister attempts at undermining the message and work of Christ. All he has to do is to get you to believe one of these false distortions of God’s truth that lead you to the conclusion that Jesus is not God, or that He was just a great teacher, or that Jesus was a sinner just like us. Such thinking pulls the rug from under the foundation of your faith.

Here then is the amazing truth that we celebrate at Easter. Jesus, “who had no sin,” became our sin and paid the penalty that we deserve. Jesus paid it all. Peter put it this way: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (1 Pet 2:24) In that amazing sacrificial act of love our sin debt was paid in full and the righteousness of Christ was placed upon all who believe. (Ro 4) We became “the righteousness of God.” Jesus did not just die, but He was victorious over the grave just as He had promised. He is God’s flawless sacrificial lamb. His blood cleanses us of all unrighteousness.

Don’t believe the vain imaginings of men. Believe the truth as given by God and found in His word. As Easter approaches turn your heart, your eyes, and your faith to the author and finisher of your faith. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Remember — Jesus Paid It All.

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow.

And now complete in Him,

My robe, His righteousness,

Close sheltered ‘neath His side,

I am divinely blest.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Eyewitness News Reports Confirm the Reality of Christ

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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